A European study investigating adult numeracy education

Identifying challenges and possible responses





Numeracy, Adult Education, Challenges, Professional Development


Numeracy is a critical competency needed by adults to navigate their way through tasks in their personal and professional lives. Hence, it is critical that efforts are made to identify and address challenges that prevent adults from developing the numeracy skills needed to engage in society. In this research we identify the challenges facing adult numeracy eduction across Europe. A survey, which sought to investigate the main challenges faced by adult educators and policy-makers when delivering numeracy programmes, was distributed to leading figures in adult numeracy education in EU states. Twelve countries responded and challenges identified related to the lack of a standardised definition of numeracy, the lack of a standardised framework to support adult numeracy education and the need for professional development for adult numeracy tutors. In this paper we look at how these challenges manifest themselves in different jurisdictions and offer suggestions for overcoming these challenges in future.


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Author Biographies

Dr Niamh O'Meara, EPISTEM, University of Limerick

Dr Niamh O’Meara is a lecturer in mathematics education in the University of Limerick and is the co-director of EPISTEM, the national centre for STEM Education in Ireland.

Dr Kathy O'Sullivan, University of Galway

Dr Kathy O’Sullivan is a lecturer in mathematics education at the University of Galway, Ireland.

Prof Kees Hoogland, University of Applied Sciences Utrecht

Prof Kees Hoogland is professor of Mathematical and Analytical Competences of Professionals at the University of Applied Sciences Utrecht in The Netherlands.

Prof Javier Diez-Palomar, University of Barcelona

Prof Javier Diez-Palomar is an associate professor in the Department of Linguistic and Literary Education, and Teaching and Learning of Experimental Sciences and Mathematics, at the University of Barcelona.


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How to Cite

O’Meara, N., O’Sullivan, K., Hoogland, K., & Diez-Palomer, J. (2024). A European study investigating adult numeracy education: Identifying challenges and possible responses. European Journal for Research on the Education and Learning of Adults, 15(2). https://doi.org/10.3384/rela.2000-7426.4833



Open Paper

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