School is out, but numeracy is in! : an exploratory case study of the out-of-school numeracy practices of four year 12 New Zealand students : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the degree of Master of Education at Massey University
This exploratory case study investigated the out-of-school and workplace numeracy practices of four Year 12 New Zealand high school students. Student participants were interviewed using a numeracy kit of everyday items as a stimulus for discussion about their use of mathematics out-of-school. The workplace numeracy practices of the student participants were investigated through workshadowing and stimulated recall (Zevenbergen, 2004). Data from the case studies demonstrated that these young people involved in the Gateway programme were competent users of mathematics both in the workplace and in their everyday lives. Significant differences between school mathematics and out-of-school numeracy practices point to possible explanations of why school mathematics may not transfer to out-of-school settings. Inclusion into a community of practice, willingness to take on work for the purpose of learning and an ability on the part of the employer to offer work experiences that involve numeracy are shown to be key factors in the development of these student participants development of competency. Workplace observations of the student participants' suggest that Lave and Wenger's conceptualisation of the "novice" may no longer apply to young people entering contemporary workplaces. A possible framework for the schools to assess the learning opportunities afforded by Gateway employers is given.