What is Numeracy about?

Numeracy is a foundational skill that enables access to further learning, develops important life skills, and allows people to fully engage in work and in their communities.

Everyone has a role to play in developing NCEA numeracy, including school leaders, kaiako, whānau and ākonga.

When kaiako make the numeracy that naturally occurs in their learning programmes explicit, and when school leaders and whānau also support numeracy learning, ākonga:

  • gain access to different perspectives of mathematics and statistics in a range of authentic and meaningful contexts;
  • have multiple opportunities to practise their numeracy skills and transfer this knowledge between NCEA learning areas and their own lives; and
  • can meet subject-specific numeracy demands.

About NCEA Numeracy

From 2023, to gain an NCEA qualification, ākonga must pass the Numeracy standard US32406: Use mathematics and statistics to meet the numeracy demands of a range of situations or the Pāngarau standard US32412, Te whakamahi pāngarau me te tauanga hei whakatutuki i ngā hiahia pāngarau o ngā pūāhua whai take.

The Numeracy standard requires ākonga to master the mathematics and statistics content ideas at Level 4 of the New Zealand Curriculum AND interweave these content ideas with mathematical and statistical process ideas.

Process Ideas

Learners formulate mathematical and/or statistical approaches to solving problems in a range of meaningful situations


  • determine the mathematics and/or statistics needed in a range of situations.
  • formulate and carry out plans to use mathematics/statistics
  • select appropriate representations of the mathematics or statistics – eg, graphs, tables, diagrams, equations, expressions.

Learners use mathematics and statistics to meet the numeracy demands of a range of meaningful situations


  • apply mathematical and/or statistical concepts.
  • use appropriate mathematical/statistical approaches, which may include digital calculations.
  • use a degree of precision appropriate to the situation (including estimation).

Learners explain the reasonableness of mathematical and statistical responses to situations


  • consider and explain the reasonableness of solutions, outcomes, and approaches while reflecting on how these were chosen.
  • engage in sense-making to interpret solutions in relation to the situation given, including in different cultural contexts (see “Unpacking Numeracy”).
  • provide evidence-based conclusions.
  • use critical judgements in relation to statements based on mathematical and statistical ideas.
    • critique these statements
    • explore different approaches to them
    • respect the thinking of others
    • respond to the ideas of others
  • share mathematical and statistical ideas.
    • use mathematical and statistical language, symbols, and representations
    • share methods and results
    • use their own words to explain ideas
    • present ideas concisely and coherently

Content Ideas

Operations on numbers

Fluently and flexibly solve problems that require operations on numbers, understanding the relative size of those numbers, and making sense of the answer in context.

Mathematical relationships

Recognise and work with mathematical relationships.

Spatial properties and representations

Understand and use the spatial properties and representations of objects.

Location and navigation

Understand and use systems for location and navigation.


Use numbers and units to measure and express attributes of objects and events as quantities, with a degree of precision appropriate to the context.

Statistics and data

Understand and reason with statistics and data.

Elements of chance

Use probability to interpret situations that involve elements of chance.

More Information

Numeracy in Your Classroom - A guide for subject kaiako on how the changes to NCEA Numeracy can be implemented.

Numeracy Pedagogy Guides (NPGs) - A set of guides that unpack the Unpacking Numeracy document in specific NCEA learning areas and subjects. These may be useful when considering how you can weave numeracy into your classroom.

About Pāngarau - Find out more about the Pāngarau standard ākonga can sit as an alternative to the Numeracy standard, or in addition to the Numeracy standard to show their skills in both languages.

About NCEA Literacy - An overview of the changes to NCEA Literacy.

Additional Readings

See additional readings and sources for NCEA Literacy and Numeracy.