What's New

Math Musings: An Adult Numeracy Blog

  (Click the title of an entry to read full text.)

Why is Reading Math So Hard? (aka, My attempts to assess why my students struggle to read word problems)
by Melissa Braaten It’s common knowledge that many adult students struggle with word problems – which, incidentally, make up the majority of the questions they will be asked to answer on high stakes HSE exams.  Since word problems bring together both language and mathematical reasoning, they require students to use and integrate several skill sets.  … Continue reading Why is Reading Math So Hard? (aka, My attempts to assess why my students struggle to read word problems)
Having Realistic Expectations
by Sarah Lonberg-Lew As a math teacher in adult education classrooms, I have never had the experience of having a class of students who had similar educational backgrounds and ability levels. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever met a math teacher of adult learners who has had that experience. And yet, when I plan … Continue reading Having Realistic Expectations

What is (AR)2?


The Adults Reaching Algebra Readiness series builds upon the content presented in Adult Numeracy lnstruction (ANI) professional development.

(AR)2 begins with a review of linear functions, including in-out tables, equations, and graphs and progresses to systems of equations, always relating to real-life.

Activities then build from linear functions to nonlinear functions and explorations with exponents. Geometry concepts are explored as ways to apply algebraic reasoning in real-life contexts, including both linear and nonlinear examples.

Throughout the sessions, we continue to connect to basic number properties which are the focus on the College and Career Readiness Standards and other core ideas introduced in Teachers Investigating Adult Numeracy (TIAN) and ANI, including

Overarching Objectives

Participants in (AR)2 will be able to:

• turn everyday experiences into opportunities for teaching algebraic topics;

• work with algebraic expressions/equations in various formats: verbal model, input/output tables, graphs and equations;

• solve a system of equations graphically and algebraically;

• manipulate symbols in decontextualized problem to solve various algebraic equations;

• make connections to the College and Career Readiness Standards;

• use real-life problems to analyze linear and nonlinear situations.

Why (AR)2?

The jobs of the 21st century will, at a minimum, require an associate's degree or better. For students to meet these challenges, and with the release of the Career and College Readiness Standards, higher level math skills are needed.

Less than 5% of adult education teachers were math majors in college, and many, at best, only completed up to algebra when they were students.

Both our students and our teachers need strategies to understand these higher level math demands at both the conceptual and algebraic level. (AR)2 helps prepare teachers to meet these challenges.