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Count Us In is a call-to-action report from the British Academy broadly outlining reasons, goals, and means for achieving high data literacy in the UK (Mansell, 2015).
Not everybody needs to become a data scientist, but more people need to be able to reap the fruits of data science. Economic and workforce development projections suggest that a wider base of numeracy across all occupations will be necessary in the future in order to foster innovation, efficiency, and the maintenance of an informed citizenry. Any level above innumeracy can provide some benefit – and broaden the pool from which highly data-proficient workers might emerge. Achieving this goal will require support at every level and in every subject throughout formal education, and through lifelong learning and professional development efforts.
The report places its highest emphasis on producing a cultural change in expectations and requirements. Major changes in curriculum design and teacher training are assumed to be solvable challenges that will yield improved performance, and this development is assumed to be driven by the change in expectations. The "how" of preparing more students to meet more demanding qualifications is not addressed in detail. Not much is said about the feasibility and scope of investment that might be necessary to "subject school curricula…to a process of continuous review" and ensure "that quantitative skills are embedded in school curricula…within but also going beyond the subject of mathematics, from an early age". This report also does not discuss what might be de-emphasized in the curriculum by this process, or which stakeholders might be involved in a change in emphasis.
The Cambridge Mathematics programme aims to address the "how" of curriculum change by providing actionable, evidence-based guidance for the teaching of mathematical knowledge, skills, and abilities at all primary and secondary levels of education. This framework addresses not only specific analytical skills, but the wider experience necessary to support full numeracy and good understanding of context. It can serve as an initial focal point for discussion and engagement, and thus may lower the bar for the dissemination and implementation hurdles that must be cleared in order for changes to have a widespread effect.