Assessment of Multimodal Academic Numeracy Practices

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Publication Details

Author list: Prince R

Place: Odense

Publication year: 2018



The importance of the role of academic numeracy practices in higher education is increasingly being recognized. Many academic disciplines make significant demands on students’ academic numeracy practices, even in disciplines such as in Law and Humanities, which may not appear to be quantitative in nature. Quantitative disciplines, such as Engineering and Sciences, also make complex demands, for which traditional mathematics courses do not always prepare students adequately. Texts in quantitative disciplines are constructed using written language, images such as information graphics (charts, maps or diagrams), and mathematical notation. The primary function of information graphics is ‘to consolidate and display information graphically in an organized way so a viewer can readily retrieve the information and make specific and / or overall observations from it’ (Harris 1999:198).

This paper focuses on meaning-making across writing and information graphics in a multimodal task in a university entrance assessment in South Africa. This assessment attempts to develop an understanding of the extent to which prospective higher education students are prepared for the academic numeracy practices they face. This is important if teaching and learning is to be optimal. Prospective student responses to the task will be analysed. This analysis will examine the academic numeracy practices of the incoming students. The practices include drawing inferences, perceiving logical relationships, evaluating cause and effect, ordering and sequencing, and constructing hypotheses. This analysis will enable for a better understanding of the extent to which these students’ academic numeracy practices are aligned with the academic numeracy practices expected in higher education. The findings will inform the way in which future university entrance assessment tasks could be developed, which is important in a developing country like South Africa where there is a large need to increase diversity of access into Higher Education in a context where there has been inequitable access in the past.


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Last updated on 2018-14-11 at 15:29