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Key skills: making a difference
Key skills: making a difference

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7.2 Working on improving your number skills

The three-stage framework for developing and improving your skills provides the basis for you to become more confident in:

  • developing a strategy for using a variety of numerical and mathematical skills, including being clear about what you want to achieve, identifying relevant sources of information that will help you to achieve your goals, and planning how you intend to improve your skills;

  • monitoring your progress and critically reflecting on your performance in evaluating information from different sources, carrying out calculations and using mathematical techniques, and making appropriate decisions and choices to meet your purposes;

  • evaluating your overall strategy and presenting the outcomes of your work, including identifying your main findings and interpreting your results; presenting your results effectively, appropriately and accurately to others; and assessing how you developed and improved your application of number skills.

You will be guided through each of these stages, which aim to help you work on the relevant part of the key skill and are intended to help you think and plan strategically over a period of about 3–4 months. The stages are divided into ‘Time outs’ to prompt you to take time to stop and think about what you are doing. All the Time outs should be seen as contributing to the process of that stage, not as independent tasks to be done one after the other and then ticked off the list. Don't just read through them once. Set aside some time to think about how you are going to tackle each Time out and record in your Skills File the goals you hope to achieve and your strategy for achieving them. It is very likely that you will need to consider each Time out more than once as you pull together your approach to number skills. Remember also to note your sources of data, your preferred ways of working, and the help and support you need, as well as your comments and ideas about how you will develop and improve your numerical and mathematical skills.

At the end of each stage there is a longer activity for you to complete. A Skills Sheet Template is included for you to print out and record your ideas on. The activity is a way of drawing together and reflecting on your work so far. Keep the completed Skills Sheets in your Skills File as part of your development record.

Click here [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]   to open the bookmark for this section where you'll find the components of the key skill. The Bookmark describes the key skill and gives criteria to help you assess your performance. It is a reference to help you check up on what you should be aiming for, as well as providing brief examples to help you understand the requirements.