Project Details

A Western Institute of Technology project exploring the numeracy of students through assessment data analysis.


The project aimed to:

  • identify numeracy deficit in tertiary learners from data within the Literacy and Numeracy Assessment Tool (LNAAT)
  • use the findings to progress learner numeracy skills.


The methodology of the project includes:

  • drawing on data within the Literacy and Numeracy Assessment Tool (LNAAT)
  • developing a recording mechanism to tabulate numeracy data from LNAAT
  • refining data by learning progressions/step achievement levels.



Gary Sharpe

Project Leader

Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki (WITT)

Hannah Hughson

Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki (WITT)




$11,000.00 (excl GST)

$5,400.00 Regional Hub Project Fund
$5,600.00 Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki (WITT)

Key Findings

Numeracy assessment data from the Literacy and Numeracy Adult Assessment Tool, and employers showed that:

  • proportional reasoning was identified as the progression that has the highest numeracy skill deficit for learners
  • basic numeracy deficits are higher in the 13 to 20 year age groups. This is significant because these learners were most recently exposed to formal maths and numeracy education at school
  • proportional reasoning skills are the skills that employers have observed having the biggest entry-worker skill gap
  • a dedicated, step-by-step, skill building resource that progresses the learner through proportional reasoning to a skill level that suits today’s workplace has not been identified.

Key Recommendations

The following recommendations are made regarding literacy: 

  • The development of a specific staircase Proportional Reasoning module in Pathways Awarua.
  • Professional development for tutors in presentation of Proportional Reasoning delivery material.
  • The availability of a ‘read to me’ option for numeracy assessments in the LNAAT to negate or lessen the influence of low reading skills in assessed learners. 

Further research is recommended in the following areas:

  • A similar analysis of literacy/reading achievement among learners and from employers.
  • A comparative study between numeracy and literacy step achievements to give greater knowledge of the influence of Literacy Skills in Numeracy learning and vice versa.
  • An exploratory study conducted within the primary and secondary sector focusing on Proportional Reasoning to discover how it is introduced to learners, and identify best practice teaching methods.


Using LNAAT data to improve the teaching, resources and achievement in numeracy education

A report prepared by Gary Sharpe and Hannah Hughson.

(PDF, 981 KB, 34-pages) 

  • 5 April 2019
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