Developing Students' Academic Numeracy Skills: Taking a whole-of-institution approach

Kathy Brady


The broad diversity of students commencing at university is now a well-documented feature of higher education in Australia. The literature also reveals that the many commencing students lack the mathematical preparedness to meet the academic numeracy demands of their programs. Whilst it may be well understood that students need a certain level of mathematics to study, for example, engineering, the numeracy demands in many other disciplines are not made so evident or explicit. Recent research has found low numeracy to be more problematic than low literacy with regards to successfully undertaking higher education studies, with resultant implications for student retention. This paper describes the journey undertaken at one university in adopting an institution-wide approach to developing their students’ academic numeracy skills. A key component of the initiative presented is the development of a credit-bearing Academic and Professional Numeracy topic as a means to address the shortcomings in students’ numeracy skills.


academic numeracy; whole-of-institution approaches; modular curriculum

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