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News from the world of maths: The cost of poor maths skills

Friday, November 16, 2007

The cost of poor maths skills

The poor maths skills of shoppers who fail to notice that they have been short-changed at the supermarket costs UK shoppers over £800 million a year.

Learndirect, an adult learning organisation, found that from a survey of 1000 people over half think that their basic maths skills let them down when shopping.

Many report that they struggle when converting currency on holiday and fail to take notice of how much items cost. A lack of basic English skills also contributes to this. This lack of basic skills means that £823 million is lost each year.

Learndirect operates a network of more than 800 online learning centres in England and Wales, providing access to a range of e-learning opportunities. Their survey suggests that:

  • one in five shoppers cannot convert local currency into pounds while on holiday;
  • more than a third admit to adding up on their fingers when they have no calculator;
  • one in five do not know the difference between words that sound the same but have different meanings, such as “there” and “their”;
  • two thirds rely completely on a spellchecker at work;
  • 40% cannot calculate volume;
  • a third find converting fractions to decimals very difficult.
Learndirect also says that 1.4 million UK workers believe they have missed out on a promotion, or even lost a job, due to a lack of basic maths or English skills. This is why you should read Plus!

posted by Plus @ 3:04 PM

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