Are your maths skills up to scratch on National Numeracy Day?

Published by Rachel Lacey on 16 May 2018.
Last updated on 16 May 2018

Maths skills

Everybody is being encouraged to celebrate the importance of numbers in our everyday life today as part of National Numeracy Day.

An initiative led by KPMG, the day seeks to bring members of the public together with employers and teachers to improve numeracy skills across the UK and echoes Moneywise’s long-standing campaign to Get Financial Education Working.

From getting the best deal when we’re shopping to managing family finances and understanding our pay slips, numeracy skills are an important part of daily life.

However, despite this, the organisers of National Numeracy Day claim half of working adults have the equivalent numeracy skills of a primary school child. 

Moneywise believes the best time to learn about personal finance and how to manage money is as a child in school. Yet with financial education only featuring on the perimeter of the national curriculum for secondary school children, provision remains patchy and ad hoc.

This is why Moneywise introduced the Personal Finance Teacher of the Year Competition as part of its campaign, to reward those schools and teachers who are committed to teaching children about money and how to manage it.

The competition has now closed and the Moneywise team is meeting with Julian Knight MP and personal finance editor of the Mail on Sunday Jeff Prestridge, along with representatives from Young Enterprise and our sponsor F&C to judge entries this week, before announcing the winners at the Moneywise Customer Service Awards 2018 on 7 June.

Watch this space for the results but, in the meantime, you can find out how your number skills stack up with the National Numeracy Day quiz – and if you don’t do as well as you would hope, get some tips on how to beef up your maths ability.





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I scored 99/100 on their

I scored 99/100 on their National Numeracy Day quiz, and I disagree with the one answer they adjudged me to have got wrong. The question asked:

This was the attendance at 3 football matches one day, each rounded to the nearest 1,000. What's the largest total number of people who attended the 3 matches on the day?

City 28000
United 16000
Rovers 23000

The possible answers given were:

1. 68,500
2. 68,497
3. 68,499
4. None of these

The problem is that there is more than one correct answer because there is more than one method of rounding numbers. The possible options are shown here:

Essentially the question is how you round 0.5. One method is that 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 are always rounded up, so that 1.5 rounded to the nearest integer is 2, 2.5 is 3 and so on. However, there is another method popularly known as bankers’ rounding (which naturally I prefer, as a retired banker) that rounds 0.5 down if it follows an even number and rounds it up if it follows an odd number. With this method 1.5 is rounded up to 2 to the nearest integer, and 2.5 is rounded down to 2.

Using the latter method the highest attendances would have been City 28,500, United 16,500 and Rovers 23,499 for a total attendance of 68,499. I presume that the answer they deemed correct was 68,497 (28,499 + 16,499 + 23,499) but given the lack of a universally accepted convention on rounding methods, I would contend that it is only one of two answers that could be regarded as equally correct.