Tag Archives: numeracy

Movement-space: The changing domain of thinking resulting from the development of new kinds of spacial awareness

Abstract This paper is an attempt to describe the nature of a new calculative background that is currently coming into existence, a background that will both guide and constitute what counts as ‘thinking’. It begins by providing a capsule history of how this background has become a more and more pervasive quality of Euro-American cultures as a result of [...]

On the Theory of Scales of Measurement

Abstract …Paraphrasing N.R. Campbell…we may say that measurement, in the broadest sense, is defined as the assignment of numerals to objects or events according to rules. The fact that numerals can be assigned under different rules leads to different kinds of scales and different kinds of measurement. Comments An early social scientific theory of measurement [...]

False numbers as formalizing practices

Abstract It will be argued that false numbers in working documents, formulae, and business plans are used as temporary or conditional devices to enable rationalization. The social processes of creating formalized practices depend upon activities that are themselves conditional and ephemeral. That is, rather than subvert the ostensible purpose of fixed representation, false numbers make [...]

Becoming a Measuring Instrument

Abstract This article provides an ethnographic examination of olfactory consumer testing in the perfume industry. What kind of reality is generated within such practices? The analysis is focused on one particular testing method used in order to assess the hedonic performance of fine fragrances. The authors observe what happens inside the testing venue. The article [...]

Self Experimentation: A Call for Change

Abstract Few behavioral psychologists spend much time experimentally analyzing their own behaviors. Perhaps they study animals in operant chambers, or people in laboratories, classrooms, or hospitals, but rarely, if ever, do they study themselves in quite the same manner…. Comments This 1980s text discusses the history of self-experimentation from a behaviorist’s point of view. The [...]

A brief history of measurement

Abstract The aim of this paper is to situate the subject of measurement and metrology in its historical and philosophical context. Everyone agrees that the numeration of objects and the quantification of the characteristics of some simple systems are very ancient practices encountered in any specific civilisation. Indeed the link between measurement and numeration comes [...]

Ambient Intelligence at the Beach

Abstract  We describe an experimental public resource monitoring system that combines sensor data and human input to create a new descriptor of ambient water conditions. We call this new metric the swimming pleasure measure. We give an overview of how it is composed, how it relates to existing public water health monitoring efforts and how [...]

Parts of the Whole: Cognition, Schemas, and Quantitative Reasoning

Abstract Based loosely on ideas of Jean Piaget and Richard Skemp, this Parts of the Whole column considers the construction of knowledge in mathematics and quantitative reasoning. Examples are chosen that illustrate an important cognitive difference between quantitative numeracy and classical mathematics, and which illuminate the particular choices instructors must make in order to teach [...]

Mindless statistics

Abstract Statistical rituals largely eliminate statistical thinking in the social sciences. Rituals are indispensable for identification with social groups, but they should be the subject rather than the procedure of science. What I call the “null ritual” consists of three steps: (1) set up a statistical null hypothesis, but do not specify your own hypothesis [...]

Quantitative Literacy on the Web of Science, 2 – Mining the Health Numeracy Literature for Assessment Items

Abstract A topic search of the Web of Science (WoS) database using the term “numeracy” produced a bibliography of 293 articles, reviews and editorial commentaries (Oct 2008). The citation graph of the bibliography clearly identifies five benchmark papers (1995-2001), four of which developed numeracy assessment instruments. Starting with the 80 papers that cite these benchmarks, [...]

Truth and Clarity in Arithmetic

Abstract The computing profession-indeed the engineering profession in general-has a particular responsibility to promote numeracy, both within the profession and within the community at large. The commodity calculator is an insult to that responsibility. The IEEE should establish and promote a rigorous and detailed standard for a universal basic calculator. Professional engineers everywhere should press [...]

Why Are Innovations in the Health Field Needed?

Abstract After the experience gained from initiating the Child-to-Child programme the author is convinced that innovations such as these offer an opportunity for Primary Health Care and Pritnary School Education to work together to improve both health and numeracy. This will help in community development and also be in keeping withl the recommendation of Alma [...]

The innumerate technician

Abstract Modern society relies on correct manipulation of numbers. Few major or minor disasters are not related to ‘somebody making a mistake’ with numbers; numeracy accidents don’t just happen, they are firmly designed into all our processes. Most of them might be avoided by ‘numeracy selection’ or ‘numeracy training’ but development of these procedures is [...]