Written by: Samantha Ellingsworth
It is far easier to spot someone who cannot read or write than someone who cannot add 14 plus 3. Innumeracy is the unfamiliarity with math concepts and methods, even a basic level. The reason why it is harder to spot in someone than being unable to read or write, (which is called illiteracy), is because we have placed a higher value on reading and writing. As a society, we value reading and writing more than performing calculations.
Why do we value reading and writing more?
Well, illiteracy takes on a more visible consequence than innumeracy does. Due to its less obvious consequences, innumeracy appears more socially acceptable or at least goes unnoticed. It is interesting to note that innumeracy can affect both the well-educated and the uneducated. Whereas illiteracy commonly appears only in the uneducated. This is largely why we value reading and writing more because innumeracy simply goes undetected. That said, an employee’s ability to manage a situation or solve a problem is dependent on the individual’s critical thinking and logic skills; skills that come from having proficient mathematical knowledge.
What does this all mean?
Despite the apparent imbalance between the two, numeracy is equally as important in an academic and professional setting as is literacy. So, how does mathematics measure up against reading and writing? Simple! They are both equally important and carry immense value to anyone looking to further their career or advance their general intellect.
This is why math matters.