Adults returning to study mathematics

Document Type

Book chapter

Publication details

Galligan, L & Taylor, JA 2008, 'Adults returning to study mathematics', in H Forgasz, A Barkatsas, A Bishop, B Clarke, S Keast, WT Seah & P Sullivan (eds), Research in mathematics education in Australasia 2004-2007, New directions in mathematics and science education, vol. 12, Sense Publishers, Rotterdam, Netherlands, pp. 99-118. ISBN: 9789087904999


This chapter focuses on adults learning mathematics in two distinct sections; adults learning mathematics in the workplace and community; and adults engaged in further studies (e.g. university or vocational studies) including bridging mathematics. In this review, research available on adults in basic numeracy education through to those gaining access to or supported at university study involving mathematics in a variety of forms is investigated. Consideration is also given to relevant definitions of adult, mathematics and numeracy, and to the relationship between research into learning and research into teaching practices or curriculum design. It is concluded that the area of adults learning mathematics is still under-theorised and under- researched at a time when 21st century needs demand a population with increasing numeracy-based skills and knowledge.