Mathematical Literacy

What does it mean to be mathematically literate?

Mathematical literacy is being able to do, understand, and apply mathematics, not only in the classroom, but in everyday lives.

Ensuring that students are mathematically literate must be a priority in every Wisconsin classroom so that students are confident, competent, and ready for college and career.  Incorporating reading, writing, speaking, listening, and critical thinking in instruction provides students with opportunities to develop literacy in mathematics while deepening their mathematical knowledge, conceptual understanding, and skills. 

Students need to be engaged in a multitude of critical thinking experiences in which they construct viable arguments for real world situations in mathematics; write detailed, precise mathematical arguments; verbalize arguments and critique the reasoning of others; listen to, process and apply critique from others; listen to and analyze the reasoning and arguments of others; read and make sense of text that explains mathematical procedures, proofs and arguments; and develop conceptual understanding of mathematical language, content, strategies, skills, and reasoning.

Mathematically literate students are able to analyze, reason, and communicate ideas effectively as they pose, formulate, solve and interpret mathematical problems in a variety of situations. 

The eight Standards for Mathematical Practice from the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics provide a framework for developing mathematical literacy.  The following links to each of these practices provides an overview of what mathematically proficient students can do, as well as links to video clips that provide additional insights into the practice.


Questions to consider regarding mathematical literacy:

    • What does it mean to be mathematically literate, both within mathematics classrooms and across other disciplines? 
    • How is mathematical literacy an integral part of the curriculum?
    • How is mathematical literacy developed across levels, PK-12?

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