n South African Journal of Higher Education - Quantitative literacy provision in the first year of medical studies

Volume 25, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



This article presents a description of and motivation for the quantitative literacy (numeracy) intervention in the first year of medical studies at a South African university. This intervention is a response to the articulation gap between the quantitative literacy of many first-year medical students and the demands of their curriculum. Interventions of this kind should be integrated into the medical curriculum, primarily because quantitative literacy is a practice which is embedded in the disciplinary practices. Tensions involved in attempting this integration are largely due to structural conditions and other curricular factors. Results of evaluation of its effectiveness show that the intervention is seen as useful by the students and that the workshops provided are effective in improving students' performance in assessments. The intervention should be enhanced by including aspects that address students' spatial abilities and reading and writing competencies. Extension of quantitative literacy provision beyond first year is also desirable.

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