Mathematical literacy


Citizens in every country are increasingly confronted with a myriad of tasks involving quantitative, spatial, probabilistic and other mathematical concepts. For example, media outlets are filled with information in the form of tables, charts and graphs about subjects such as weather, climate change, economics, population growth, medicine and sports.

PISA defines Mathematical literacy

  • as an individual’s capacity to formulate, employ, and interpret mathematics in a variety of contexts.
  • It includes reasoning mathematically and using mathematical concepts, procedures, facts and tools to describe, explain and predict phenomena.
  • It assists individuals to recognise the role that mathematics plays in the world and to make the well-founded judgments and decisions needed by constructive, engaged and reflective citizen


•For mathematical literacy four subscales, which reflect different tasks and capacities, are developed: space and shape (geometry), change and relationships (algebra), quantity and uncertainty. 
•For each subscale some relatively easy questions and some more complex questions are developed.
•The domain is grouped into proficiency levels.