Faculty of Education

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2015 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Education
OfferedPeninsula First semester 2015 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Karina Wilkie


This unit addresses the key questions of what are the similarities and distinctions between numeracy and mathematics. Although numeracy is sometimes thought of as a subset of mathematics, it can also be seen as encompassing a different set of aims and objectives. For example, the power of 'pure' mathematics can be thought of as resting in the pleasure that mathematicians gain from 'playing' with mathematics for its own sake, and the resultant ever more abstract nature of the subject. In contrast, being numerate means working in the opposite direction: looking for the mathematics potentially 'hidden' in the world and drawing on quantitative skills to question particular issues. Numeracy is linked to being able to make critically informed judgements, judgements for which mathematical knowledge in itself may not equip one. By addressing such issues the unit develops both students' understanding of numeracy and mathematics and what this means for them as teachers and future leaders of numeracy in schools.


Upon successful completion of this unit students should be able to:

  1. articulate the distinction between numeracy and mathematics
  2. demonstrate understanding of the difference between mathematics as a key learning area and numeracy as a general learning area
  3. demonstrate awareness of the different sorts of contexts, problems and activities that lead to learners becoming numerate in their personal and civic lives
  4. articulate how their learning experiences in the unit relate to teaching, learning and leadership in primary schools.


Report on a numeracy inquiry (2000 words or equivalent, 50%)
Research report (can include individual and/or group work) (2000 words or equivalent per student, 50%)

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload equals 144 hours per semester comprising:

(a.) Contact hours for on-campus students:

  • workshops: 24 hours over the semester

(b.) Additional requirements:

  • independent study to make up the minimum required hours per week

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study