The importance of math in the classroom is obvious, but the importance of math outside the classroom is a little less obvious. Teachers, of all grade levels, will stress the importance of math skills through their “real-world” applications in their lessons. But these real-world applications do not necessarily explain why these skills are important and for whom they benefit.
Basic math skills, especially numerical problem solving, are essential for employment. Although through the years we have easier and easier access to calculators and computers that can perform complex calculations for us, math has become progressively more vital in the workplace. This is especially the case in terms of initial employment and promotions. Despite what computers can calculate for us, there is an importance in being able to understand the math that is needed to be calculated.
Numeracy measures critical thinking skills, problem-solving skills, and ability to use logic. Numeracy is the general understanding of operations, measurement, probability, and basic statistics. Critical thinking, problem-solving, and logic are all skills that employers look for in employees because these are skills that will help advance a company and its profitability. With a rise in big data, companies are relying increasingly on data collection to guide their decisions; this means that employees are left to analyze and interpret data that will result in a decision being acted upon.
For an employee with poor math skills, promotion is a gamble; whereas, for an employee with proficient or even advanced math skills, promotion is almost a guarantee. Because an inability to perform basic math calculations can be financially costly to a company, as well as places a limit on employee participation and ultimately results in fragile internal economics.
This is why math matters.