Numeracy and Statistics

Submitted by Mohamed Hassanien on Tue, 04/18/2023 - 07:13

A common notion is that mathematics, numeracy, and statistics are difficult. From personal experience of supporting students in these areas, I have found that the fear of number is largely responsible for this belief. There might be many reasons that contribute to this fear but developing a growth mindset is an effective strategy for “growing out of” it. Once you can overcome the fear of numbers, the challenges inherent to mathematics can be engaging and even quite enjoyable.


Learning mathematics and numeracy can be likened to learning a language, since Mathematics is a logical language of communication. In English language, we combine letters, words, and punctuations using various grammatical rules to make meaningful sentences that clearly communicate ideas. Similarly, in Mathematics, we combine numbers, letters, and operations through various mathematical syntax/rules to make meaningful expressions/equations. While mathematics is generic, numeracy focuses on the use of mathematics for day-to-day applications at home, school, work, and shops among others. In Mathematics, we could be asked to find x given that 2x = 10. An equivalent of this in numeracy could be, “What is the price of one pen if two pens cost £10?”. The rule (syntax) in both instances would be 10/2 = 5. Buying/shopping (which is a day-to-day application) could make the second instance more relatable without “consciously” applying the rule.


Numeracy could be likened to English for Specific Academic Purposes (ESAP). Learning the rule/syntax of any language is crucial to becoming proficient in it. You can learn the basic rules of mathematics/numeracy by going through our self-paced Numeracy and Maths mini modules. You can also book One-to-One Maths/Numeracy support here, or here if you’re a student at our Berlin campus.


You might have heard the claim that “More than 80% of Dentists recommend Colgate.” Interestingly, this claim was disapproved by the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) because of its inherent tendency to be misinterpreted as “more than 80% of Dentists recommend Colgate over other toothpastes.” Statistics involves the collection, organization, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of data. Before setting out to collect data, it is essential to have a clear understanding of the intended purpose of a study/research/investigation. It’s also important to present statistical findings clearly and without ambiguity – don’t make the same mistake that Colgate did! The purpose determines what type of data to collect, how to collect and organize the data, the type of statistical analysis and tool to use, and how to interpret and present the outcome without ambiguity and misinformation.


A common misconception is that the data analysis stage is the most challenging. This is not true. Once the purpose is well understood and the procedure to achieve it is well established, we can leverage statistical tools such as the IBM’s Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS), Microsoft Excel, and Jamovi among others to perform data analysis effortlessly. The key work here is ‘tools.’ Like all tools, we need to learn how to use them in order to get the most out of them. Fortunately, we have created resources specifically to help with this! You can learn about the processes of statistics and how to use various statistical tools by attending the following optional workshops


Introduction to Statistics

Advanced Statistics

“Use of Specialist Software – SPSS (Parts 1 & 2)

You can also book One-to-One Statistics support here ( OR

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