Developing Critical Numeracy Across the Curriculum

Teaching Activity

Citizenship Test

What does it mean to be a successful Australian Citizen?
8/9/10 Stage: 10/11
with emphasis on:

Maths Concepts: Number, surveying
Context: Society
Critical Numeracy: De-coding, Meaning-making, Using, Analysing
Date of Article:29/01/08, pg 4
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Student Worksheet
Student worksheet answers

Teacher Guidelines:

This article looks at the pass / failure rates of migrants taking the Australian Citizenship test. It raises many questions about what it means to be an Australian citizen and the appropriateness of a test to help migrants learn what is needed. 

Orienting Questions

What does it mean to be a successful Australian Citizen?

 Do students think it is a good idea for immigrants to have to pass a citizenship test? What questions should be on it and what should be the pass mark?

If students have not looked at percentage for a while it may be useful asking them to recall what they already know about percentage.

De-coding and Meaning-making

The article comments on the failure rate of migrants from several different countries.  The worksheet asks the student to extract the data and perform a range of percentage calculations.


Students consider reasons why migrants from different countries might be disadvantaged in the test and how they could be helped.


Extending the work to try test questions on their peers and adults allows the student to gather their own data and analyse their results. They may find that some Australians don’t know all the answers.


What did you learn? How has your thinking on this topic changed? What new maths skills have you developed? What thinking strategies have you found useful?

What investigation would you like to consider now?


Explore further the notions of what it means to be a successful Australian citizen. How might students develop their own investigations?

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