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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

Professional development

Our professional development programs and workshops are appropriate for teachers of all levels and experience – whether they have a strong math background or have some math anxiety of their own! Our goal is to inspire math learning with an emphasis on meaning. Our trainings provide opportunities for teachers to foster conceptual understanding, improve reasoning and justification skills, and to share experiences with peers. 

We can custom design our professional development for targeted, content-based workshops or help programs and states create initiatives that put in place a sustainable, long-term model to support both teachers and administrators. Learn more about the options by visiting Our Projects.



ANC staff are experienced at helping programs and states implement best practices while ensuring their curricula are aligned with frameworks, and can operate within system mandates. Our recent work has focused on assisting programs to align with the College and Career Readiness Standards for Adult Education based on Common Core Math Practices.

We also offer support in adapting both traditional math content and specialized content for a range of audiences, including learners with limited literacy and numeracy skills.

Custom curricular materials development

The ANC has developed curricular materials for specific audiences and purposes. For example, Statistics for Action materials were created to help environmental organizers and citizens in affected communities to understand and communicate data about toxic issues.

In another example, ANC staff are working with health educators on materials for adults with diabetes. Researchers at the University of Colorado in Denver are implementing and examining the efficacy of increasing numeracy as a means to help diabetes patients achieve better health outcomes.


The work of the ANC is informed by the body of available research on adult learning, adults use of math in and out of school, and on children’s mathematical thinking development.

ANC staff members take a research-based approach to development projects, collaborating with educators, partners, and evaluators. We collect data on what works and revise accordingly. We report on changes of teachers and learners in accordance with the project’s design and goals. In recent projects ANC staff have worked closely with external evaluators to document the impact on teachers and others.