Wednesday, 13 January 2010

MPs & numeracy / maths literacy

The topical briefing notes occasionally prepared by the House of Commons Library for UK Members of Parliament included one yesterday on "How to understand and calculate percentages" (statistical literacy guide).

It covers e.g. "What are percentages?", "Why are they useful?", increases & decreases, how to work out percentages and "What is the % button on a calculator?"

Other briefing notes were on topics like UK Overseas Trade (Current Account): Economic Indicators, GDP - International Comparisons: Economic Indicators page, House prices: Social Indicators page, and Interest Rates and Inflation. Many of which contain percentages, so that's just as well.

While the note is good it's somewhat worrying as one would have hoped that those who make the laws that affect all aspects of our lives would have already known what percentages are and what they're for. At least it's not on "How to tie your shoelaces".

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