Dvorsky: We Need To Address Both Innumeracy And Math Anxiety In US


George Dvorsky writes in his io9 (5/1) column on the “growing problem of innumeracy,” and that “mathematics causes the most stress and trepidation” of all academic subjects. Dvorsky outlines the growing role of numeracy in the modern economy, writing that “it has a pronounced influence on our fiscal choices, literacy, and even perceptions of risk as it pertains to health...reduced susceptibility to framing effects ...and a greater awareness of risks that have a numerical component.” He also quotes Atif Kukaswadia, who says that “now more than ever the ability to critically evaluate information presented to us to draw our own conclusions” is critical. After discussing numeracy and the economy, Dvorsky shifts to considering math phobia, arguing that “the culture surrounding math has got to change, but we also need to be aware of the anxiety that math can produce.” Dvorsky concludes by calling for “teaching relevant problems that will lead students to appreciate how a mathematical formula models and clarifies real-world situations.”