Original Research

Critiquing the mathematical literacy assessment taxonomy: Where is the reasoning and the problem solving?

Hamsa Venkat, Mellony Graven, Erna Lampen, Patricia Nalube
Pythagoras | Issue 70 | a38 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/pythagoras.v0i70.38 | © 2009 Hamsa Venkat, Mellony Graven, Erna Lampen, Patricia Nalube | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 September 2009 | Published: 01 September 2009

About the author(s)

Hamsa Venkat, Marang Centre for Mathematics and Science  Education, Wits University , South Africa
Mellony Graven, Rhodes University , South Africa
Erna Lampen, Marang Centre for Mathematics and Science Education, Wits University , South Africa
Patricia Nalube, Marang Centre for Mathematics and Science Education, Wits University 

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In this paper we consider the ways in which the Mathematical Literacy (ML) assessment taxonomy provides spaces for the problem solving and reasoning identified as critical to mathematical literacy competence. We do this through an analysis of the taxonomy structure within which Mathematical Literacy competences are assessed. We argue that shortcomings in this structure in relation to the support and development of reasoning and problem solving feed through into the kinds of questions that are asked within the assessment of Mathematical Literacy. Some of these shortcomings are exemplified through the questions that appeared in the 2008 Mathematical Literacy examinations. We conclude the paper with a brief discussion of the implications of this taxonomy structure the development of the reasoning and problem–solving competences that align with curricular aims. This paper refers to the assessment taxonomy in the Mathematical Literacy Curriculum Statement (Deparment of Education (DOE), 2007).


Mathematical Literacy; taxonomy;


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