Encyclopedia of Mathematics Education

2020 Edition
| Editors: Stephen Lerman

Mathematical Literacy

  • Mogens NissEmail author
  • Eva Jablonka
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-15789-0_100


The neologism “mathematical literacy” belongs to an array of related terms that have been used in English language mathematics education research and policy discourses in the context of suggestions for the improvement of mathematics teaching and learning. While diagnosis of some apparent shortcomings seems to coexist with formal mathematics education since its inception in the USA, “mathematical literacy” is linked to the reform narratives of 1980s (Craig 2018). One of the first written occurrences of the term in the USA was in 1944, when a Commission of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) on Post-War Plans (NCTM 1970/2002, p. 244) required that the school should ensure mathematical literacy for all who can possibly achieve it. Shortly after (in 1950), the term was used again in the Canadian Hope Report (NCTM 1970/2002, p. 401). In more recent times, the NCTM 1989 Standards (NCTM 1989, p. 5) in the USA spoke about mathematical literacy and mathematically...


Numeracy Quantitative literacy Critical mathematical literacy Mathemacy Matheracy Statistical literacy 
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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IMFUFA, Department of Science and EnvironmentRoskilde UniversityRoskildeDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Education and PsychologyFreie Universität BerlinBerlinGermany

Section editors and affiliations

  • Michèle Artigue
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire de Didactique André Revuz (EA4434)Université Paris-DiderotParisFrance