The Numeracy Research Group was assigned to the Faculty of Education in November 2008. The aim of the research group is to improve elementary and functional numeracy of students in primary and secondary education. This will also affect future mbo, hbo and wo (academic higher education) students. A key document in this is the report of the Meijerink Commission (2008).
The current arithmetic education is under a lot of pressure. Research has shown that approximately a quarter of the students leave primary school at the level of 4th grade or lower. This is a worrying finding, but one should not forget that this does not deviate from the traditional education of twenty years ago. The difference is that people were hoping the results would have improved as a result of new didactics. That is not the case. A qualitative effort must be made to lower this percentage.
In addition we know that during secondary education students lose many of their numerical skills, resulting in difficulties during their studies at the mbo, hbo and wo. Systematic guidance during the secondary education phase is the basis for the further development, maintenance and consolidation of arithmetical and mathematical knowledge and skills. Applied mathematics in subjects other than mathematics requires careful attention.
The Numeracy Research Group focuses on developmental, applied and evidence-based research in the educational practice into the factors promoting or inhibiting the development of numeracy skills. The research group is characterised by its interdisciplinary expertise in numeracy/mathematics, educational psychology, educational sciences, (ortho)didactics and (ortho)pedagogy.
The Numeracy Research Group has three goals:
- Qualitative improvement of the mathematics education in primary education.
- The development of continuous curriculums starting in primary education up to secondary education.
- Professionalisation of teachers in primary and secondary education with regard to teaching mathematics.
The research group has three lines of research in mind.
- Research into prevention of arithmetic difficulties and educational disadvantages.
- Research into numeracy in the first class of secondary school in connection with the development of continuous arithmetic curriculums in secondary education.
- Research into professional numeracy of future teachers in connection with the development of competencies regarding professional knowledge and skills.
The ultimate aim of the research group is to embed the research findings and to increase the explicit attention for arithmetic/mathematics education in teacher training, so that the Faculty of Education is able to deliver teachers who are competent in arithmetic and who will teach mathematics with pleasure and self-confidence.