National Academies Press: OpenBook

Science Literacy: Concepts, Contexts, and Consequences (2016)

Chapter: Appendix A: Key Definitions and Statements about Literacy, Numeracy, Science Literacy, Health Literacy, and Health Numeracy

« Previous: References
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Key Definitions and Statements about Literacy, Numeracy, Science Literacy, Health Literacy, and Health Numeracy." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Science Literacy: Concepts, Contexts, and Consequences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23595.
×

Appendix A

Key Definitions and Statements about Literacy, Numeracy, Science Literacy, Health Literacy, and Health Numeracy

The five tables in this appendix detail the formal definitions and other definitional statements about literacy, numeracy (quantitative literacy), science literacy, health literacy, and health numeracy. The following acronyms are used in the tables:

AAAS American Association for the Advancement of Science
ALL Adult Literacy and Lifeskills Survey
AMA American Medical Association
HALS Health Activities Literacy Scale
IALS International Adult Literacy Survey
IOM Institute of Medicine
NAAL National Assessment of Adult Literacy
NALS National Adult Literacy Survey
NCES National Center for Education Statistics
NRC National Research Council
NSB National Science Board
OECD Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
PIAAC Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies
PISA Programme for International Student Assessment
REALM Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Medicine
S-TOFHLA Short Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults
TOFHLA Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults
WHO World Health Organization
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Key Definitions and Statements about Literacy, Numeracy, Science Literacy, Health Literacy, and Health Numeracy." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Science Literacy: Concepts, Contexts, and Consequences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23595.
×

TABLE A-1 Literacy

Definition Source Assessment/Educational Standard
The active engagement of the reader in constructing meaning through the accurate and fluent processing of text. Snow (2002)
Using printed and written information to function in society, to achieve one’s goals, and to develop one’s knowledge and potential. Kirsch et al. (1993), Kirsch (2001) NALS 1992, IALS 2001
How adults use printed and written information to adequately function at home, in the workplace, and in the community. Measures three types of literacy—prose, document, and quantitative. NCES (2003) NAAL 2003
The knowledge and skills needed to understand and use information from text and other written formats. NCES (2003) ALL 2003-2008
Reading literacy is understanding, using, reflecting on and engaging with written texts, in order to achieve one’s goals, to develop one’s knowledge and potential, and to participate in society. There are three broad aspect categories: (1) access and retrieve, (2) integrate and interpret, (3) reflect and evaluate. OECD (2009) PISA 2009
Understanding, evaluating, using and engaging with written text to participate in the society, to achieve one’s goals and to develop one’s knowledge and potential. NCES (2012a) PIAAC 2012
Definitions of literacy emphasize the active engagement of the reader in constructing meaning through the accurate and fluent processing of text and note that success at reading comprehension depends on language skills and world knowledge as well as on control over decoding processes. Task or purpose for literacy use is at the center of any interpretation of reader skill, with an emphasis on the sociocultural context in which literacy skills are deployed and the role of that context in determining what constitutes adequate literacy levels. Snow (2016)
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Key Definitions and Statements about Literacy, Numeracy, Science Literacy, Health Literacy, and Health Numeracy." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Science Literacy: Concepts, Contexts, and Consequences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23595.
×

TABLE A-2 Numeracy (quantitative literacy)

Definition Source Assessment/Educational Standard
The knowledge and skills required to apply arithmetic operations, either alone or sequentially, to numbers embedded in printed materials, such as balancing a check-book, figuring out a tip, completing an order form, or determining the amount of interest on a loan from an advertisement. Kirsch et al. (1993), Kirsch (2001) NALS 1992, IALS 2001
To be numerate means to be competent, confident, and comfortable with one’s judgements on whether to use mathematics in a particular situation and if so, what mathematics to use, how to do it, what degree of accuracy is appropriate, and what the answer means in relation to the context. Coben (2000, 2003)
A more comprehensive portrait of quantitative literacy includes (1) confidence with mathematics; (2) cultural appreciation of mathematics; (3) interpreting data; (4) logical thinking; (5) using mathematics in making decisions in everyday life; (6) using mathematics in specific settings; (7) number sense; (8) practical skills in wide variety of common situations; (9) prerequisite knowledge (ability to use algebraic, geometric, and statistical tools); (10) symbol sense (being comfortable with algebraic and other mathematical symbols). Steen (2001)
Numeracy is defined as the knowledge and skills required to manage mathematical demands of diverse situations. NCES (2003) ALL 2003-2008
The components of numeracy are (1) context—the use and purpose for which an adult takes on a task with mathematics demands; (2) content—the mathematical knowledge that is necessary for the tasks confronted; and (3) cognitive and affective—the processes that enable an individual to solve problems and, thereby, link the content and the context. Ginsburg et al. (2006)
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Key Definitions and Statements about Literacy, Numeracy, Science Literacy, Health Literacy, and Health Numeracy." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Science Literacy: Concepts, Contexts, and Consequences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23595.
×
Definition Source Assessment/Educational Standard
Mathematical literacy is an individual’s capacity to formulate, employ, and interpret mathematics in a variety of contexts. It includes reasoning mathematically and using mathematical concepts, procedures, facts, and tools to describe, explain, and predict phenomena. It assists individuals to recognize the role that mathematics plays in the world and to make the well-founded judgments and decisions needed by constructive, engaged and reflective citizens. OECD (2012b) PISA 2012
Numeracy is the ability to use, apply, interpret, and communicate mathematical information and ideas. It is an essential skill in an age when individuals encounter an increasing amount and wide range of quantitative and mathematical information in their daily lives. Numeracy is a skill parallel to reading literacy, and it is important to assess how these competencies interact, since they are distributed differently across subgroups of the population. Goodman et al. (2013), NCES (2012a) PIAAC 2013
Numeracy is defined as the ability to access, use, interpret, and communicate mathematical information and ideas, to engage in and manage mathematical demands of a range of situations in adult life. NCES (2012a) PIAAC 2012
Numeracy is defined as the ability to understand probabilistic and mathematical concepts. Peters (2012)
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Key Definitions and Statements about Literacy, Numeracy, Science Literacy, Health Literacy, and Health Numeracy." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Science Literacy: Concepts, Contexts, and Consequences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23595.
×

TABLE A-3 Science Literacy

Definition Source Assessment/Educational Standard
Attempts to define human values, to understand the social, economic and political problems of our times, or to validate educational objectives without a consideration of modern science are unrealistic. More than a casual acquaintance with scientific forces and phenomena is essential for effective citizenship today. Further efforts are required to choose learning experiences that have a particular value for the development of an appreciation of science as an intellectual achievement, as a procedure for exploration and discovery, and which illustrate the spirit of scientific endeavor. Hurd (1958)
Scientific literacy involves (1) an understanding of the basic concepts in science, The scientifically literate individual presently is characterized as one with and understanding of (a) the basic concepts in science, (b) the nature of science, (c) the ethics that control the scientist in his work, (d) the interrelationships of science and society, (e) the interrelationships of science and the humanities, and (f) the differences between science and technology. Pella et al. (1966)
Distinguish three forms of science literacy:
  • practical (scientific and technical know-how that can be immediately put to use to help improve living standards)
  • civic ([allows citizen to] participate more fully in the democratic processes of an increasingly technological society)
  • cultural (motivated by a desire to know something about science as a major human achievement)
Shen (1975a)
The science-literate person is one who: is aware that science, mathematics and technology are interdependent human enterprises with strengths and limitations; understands key concepts and principles of science; is familiar with the natural world and recognizes both its diversity and unity; and uses scientific knowledge and scientific ways of thinking for individual and social purposes. Frank (1989) AAAS Science for All Americans 1989
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Key Definitions and Statements about Literacy, Numeracy, Science Literacy, Health Literacy, and Health Numeracy." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Science Literacy: Concepts, Contexts, and Consequences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23595.
×
Definition Source Assessment/Educational Standard
Reasons to care about the public understanding of science: (1) science is arguably the greatest achievement of our culture, and people deserve to know about it; (2) science affects everyone’s lives, and people need to know about it; (3) many public policy decisions involve science, and these can only be genuinely democratic if they arise out of informed public debate; and (4) science is publicly supported, and such support is (or at least ought to be) based on at least a minimal level of public knowledge. Durant et al. (1989)
Four scales measuring (1) scientific interest, (2) factual scientific knowledge, (3) general attitudes to science, and (4) support for European Commission funded science. Bauer et al. (1994) Eurobarometer 1989
An education in science should contain at least three components: (a) learning science (the facts, laws, and theories of science); (b) learning about science (the philosophical, historical, and sociological foundations of science); and (c) learning to live with science. Students should be taught how to use criteria for judging experts: the role and weight of consensus; the role and weight of prestige in the scientific community; the role and weight of publication and successful competition for research grants; and so on… students need practice in judging the credibility of scientific experts. This practice should be based on real-world problems that currently affect their lives. Norris (1995)
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Key Definitions and Statements about Literacy, Numeracy, Science Literacy, Health Literacy, and Health Numeracy." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Science Literacy: Concepts, Contexts, and Consequences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23595.
×
Definition Source Assessment/Educational Standard
Scientific literacy is the knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts and processes required for personal decision making, participation in civic and cultural affairs, and economic productivity. Scientific literacy means that a person can ask, find, or determine answers to questions derived from curiosity about everyday experiences. It means that a person has the ability to describe, explain, and predict natural phenomena. Scientific literacy entails being able to read with understanding articles about science in the popular press and to engage in social conversation about the validity of the conclusions. Scientific literacy implies that a person can identify scientific issues underlying national and local decisions and express positions that are scientifically and technologically informed. A literate citizen should be able to evaluate the quality of scientific information on the basis of its source and the methods used to generate it. Scientific literacy also implies the capacity to pose and evaluate arguments based on evidence and to apply conclusions from such arguments appropriately. NRC (1996) National Science Education Standards 1996
Individuals are scientifically and technically literate: When their knowledge gives them a certain autonomy (the possibility of negotiating decisions without undue dependency with respect to others, while confronted with natural or social pressures; a certain capacity to communicate (finding ways of getting one’s message across); and some practical ways of coping with specific situations and negotiating over outcomes. Fourez (1997)
The primary and explicit aim of the 5–16 science curriculum should be: To provide a course which can enhance ‘scientific literacy’ enabling students to express an opinion on important social and ethical issues with which they will increasingly be confronted. Millar and Osborne (1998)
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Key Definitions and Statements about Literacy, Numeracy, Science Literacy, Health Literacy, and Health Numeracy." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Science Literacy: Concepts, Contexts, and Consequences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23595.
×
Definition Source Assessment/Educational Standard
Since the 1950’s there have been a variety of goals for teaching science and a wide range of meanings of scientific literacy: (1) teaching and learning about science as a cultural force in the modern world; (2) preparation for the world of work; (3) teaching and learning about science that has direct application to everyday living; (4) teaching students to be informed citizens; (5) learning about science as a particular way of examining the natural world; (6) understanding reports and discussions of science that appear in the popular media; (7) learning about science for its aesthetic appeal; (8) preparing citizens who are sympathetic to science; and (9) understanding the nature and importance of technology and the relationship between technology and science. DeBoer (2000)
The types of knowledge needed to engage in science in contemporary societies by individuals who are not professionally involved in science: (1) subject matter knowledge, (2) collecting and evaluating data, (3) interpreting data, (4) modeling in science, (5) uncertainty in science, and (6) science communication in the public domain. Ryder (2001)
Reading and writing when the content is science is the fundamental sense of scientific literacy, and being knowledgeable, learned, and educated in science is the derived sense. Scientific literacy comprises both the concepts, skills, understandings, and values generalizable to all reading, and knowledge of the substantive content of science. Norris and Phillips (2003)
A scientifically literate citizen needs to have (1) a basic vocabulary of scientific terms and constructs, and (2) a general understanding of the nature of scientific inquiry. The level of understanding needed for scientific literacy needs to be sufficient to read and comprehend the Tuesday science section of The New York Times. Miller (2004)
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Key Definitions and Statements about Literacy, Numeracy, Science Literacy, Health Literacy, and Health Numeracy." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Science Literacy: Concepts, Contexts, and Consequences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23595.
×
Definition Source Assessment/Educational Standard
Scientific literacy refers to four interrelated features that involve an individual’s: (1) scientific knowledge and use of that knowledge to identify questions, acquire new knowledge, explain scientific phenomena and draw evidence-based conclusions about science-related issues; (2) understanding of the characteristic features of science as a form of human knowledge and enquiry; (3) awareness of how science and technology shape our material, intellectual, and cultural environments; and (4) willingness to engage in science-related issues and with the ideas of science, as a constructive, concerned, and reflective citizen. Bybee et al. (2009), OECD (2006) PISA 2006
Indicators of science literacy are (1) a good understanding of basic scientific terms, concepts, and facts, (2) an ability to comprehend how science generates and assesses evidence, and (3) a capacity to distinguish science from pseudoscience. NSB Science & Engineering Indicators 2010
Scientific literacy refers to an individual’s: (1) scientific knowledge and use of that knowledge to identify questions, acquire new knowledge, explain scientific phenomena and draw evidence-based conclusions about science-related issues; (2) understanding of the characteristic features of science as a form of human knowledge and enquiry; (3) awareness of how science and technology shape our material, intellectual and cultural environments; and (4) willingness to engage in science-related issues, and with the ideas of science, as a reflective citizen. OECD (2012a) PISA 2012
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Key Definitions and Statements about Literacy, Numeracy, Science Literacy, Health Literacy, and Health Numeracy." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Science Literacy: Concepts, Contexts, and Consequences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23595.
×
Definition Source Assessment/Educational Standard
By the end of the 12th grade, students should have gained sufficient knowledge of the practices, crosscutting concepts, and core ideas of science and engineering to engage in public discussions on science-related issues, to be critical consumers of scientific information related to their everyday lives, and to continue to learn about science throughout their lives. They should come to appreciate that science and the current scientific understanding of the world are the result of many hundreds of years of creative human endeavor. It is especially important to note that the above goals are for all students, not just those who pursue careers in science, engineering, or technology or those who continue on to higher education. NRC (2012) A Framework for K-12 Science Education
The outcomes of scientific literacy can be categorized into three categories of values regarding (1) the states of knowing one might obtain, (2) the capacities one might refine, and (3) the personal traits one might develop. Norris et al. (2014)
Scientific literacy is the ability to engage with science-related issues, and with the ideas of science, as a reflective citizen. A scientifically literate person, therefore, is willing to engage in reasoned discourse about science and technology which requires the competencies to:
  1. Explain phenomena scientifically:
    • Recognize, offer and evaluate explanations for a range of natural and technological phenomena
  2. Evaluate and design scientific enquiry:
    • Describe and appraise scientific investigations and propose ways of addressing questions scientifically
  3. Interpret data and evidence scientifically:
    • Analyse and evaluate data, claims and arguments in a variety of representations and draw appropriate scientific conclusions
Koeppen et al. (2008), OECD (2013) (draft) PISA 2015
Key indicators of Americans’ attitudes about and understanding of science and technology are (1) interest in new scientific discoveries, (2) basic scientific knowledge, (3) belief that science creates opportunity, (4) confidence in the scientific community, and (5) support for science funding. NSB (2016) Science & Engineering Indicators 2016
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Key Definitions and Statements about Literacy, Numeracy, Science Literacy, Health Literacy, and Health Numeracy." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Science Literacy: Concepts, Contexts, and Consequences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23595.
×

TABLE A-4 Health Literacy

Definition Source Assessment/Educational Standard
Health literacy represents the cognitive and social skills which determine the motivation and ability of individuals to gain access to, understand, and use information in ways which promote and maintain good health. By improving people’s access to health information, and their capacity to use it effectively, health literacy is critical to empowerment. Health literacy is itself dependent upon more general levels of literacy. Poor literacy can affect people’s health directly by limiting their personal, social and cultural development, as well as hindering the development of health literacy. WHO (1998)
Health literacy is a constellation of skills, including the ability to perform basic reading and numerical tasks required to function in the healthcare environment. Patients with adequate health literacy can read, understand, and act on health care information. AMA (1999), Davis et al. (1993), Parker et al. (1995), Baker et al. (1999) REALM 1993, TOFHLA 1995, S-TOFHLA 1999
Assessment of various health-related activities from NALS 1992 and IALS 1994-1998 literacy surveys: 1) health promotion, 2) health protection, 3) disease prevention, 4) health care and maintenance, and 5) systems navigation. Rudd et al. (2004) HALS 2004
Health literacy is the degree to which individuals can obtain, process and understand the basic health information and services they need to make appropriate health decisions. But health literacy goes beyond the individual. It also depends upon the skills, preferences, and expectations of health information and care providers: our doctors; nurses; administrators; home health workers; the media; and many others. IOM (2004), Weiss et al. (2005) NAAL 2003, Newest Vital Sign 2005
The wide range of skills, and competencies that people develop to seek out, comprehend, evaluate and use health information and concepts to make informed choices, reduce health risks and increase quality of life. Zarcadoolas et al. (2005)
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Key Definitions and Statements about Literacy, Numeracy, Science Literacy, Health Literacy, and Health Numeracy." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Science Literacy: Concepts, Contexts, and Consequences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23595.
×
Definition Source Assessment/Educational Standard
Health literacy goes beyond a narrow concept of health education and individual behavior-oriented communication, and addresses the environmental, political and social factors that determine health. Health education, in this more comprehensive understanding, aims to influence not only individual lifestyle decisions, but also raises awareness of the determinants of health, and encourages individual and collective actions which may lead to a modification of these determinants. WHO (2009)
A more comprehensive definition of health literacy must include both the abilities of individuals and the characteristics of professionals and institutions that support or that may inhibit individual or community action. Rudd et al. (2012)
Health literacy is linked to literacy and entails people’s knowledge, motivation and competences to access, understand, appraise, and apply health information in order to make judgments and take decisions in everyday life concerning healthcare, disease prevention and health promotion to maintain or improve quality of life during the life course. Sørensen et al. (2012, 2015), Pelikan et al. (2012) European Health Literacy Questionnaire 2012
Components of a definition of health literacy should include (1) system demands and complexities as well as individual skills and abilities; (2) measurable components, processes, and outcomes; (3) potential for an analysis of change; and (4) demonstrate linkage between informed decisions and action. Pleasant et al. (2016)
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Key Definitions and Statements about Literacy, Numeracy, Science Literacy, Health Literacy, and Health Numeracy." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Science Literacy: Concepts, Contexts, and Consequences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23595.
×

TABLE A-5 Health Numeracy

Definition Source Assessment/Educational Standard
Health numeracy is the degree to which individuals have the capacity to access, process, interpret, communicate, and act on numerical, quantitative, graphical, biostatistical, and probabilistic health information needed to make effective decisions. Golbeck et al. (2005)
Productive health information use results from the interplay between the quantitative competencies of the patient (health numeracy), the properties of the artifacts that mediate health cognition (information design), and the communication skills of the health-care provider. Ancker and Kaufman (2007)
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Key Definitions and Statements about Literacy, Numeracy, Science Literacy, Health Literacy, and Health Numeracy." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Science Literacy: Concepts, Contexts, and Consequences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23595.
×

This page intentionally left blank.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Key Definitions and Statements about Literacy, Numeracy, Science Literacy, Health Literacy, and Health Numeracy." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Science Literacy: Concepts, Contexts, and Consequences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23595.
×
Page 133
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Key Definitions and Statements about Literacy, Numeracy, Science Literacy, Health Literacy, and Health Numeracy." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Science Literacy: Concepts, Contexts, and Consequences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23595.
×
Page 134
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Key Definitions and Statements about Literacy, Numeracy, Science Literacy, Health Literacy, and Health Numeracy." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Science Literacy: Concepts, Contexts, and Consequences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23595.
×
Page 135
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Key Definitions and Statements about Literacy, Numeracy, Science Literacy, Health Literacy, and Health Numeracy." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Science Literacy: Concepts, Contexts, and Consequences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23595.
×
Page 136
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Key Definitions and Statements about Literacy, Numeracy, Science Literacy, Health Literacy, and Health Numeracy." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Science Literacy: Concepts, Contexts, and Consequences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23595.
×
Page 137
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Key Definitions and Statements about Literacy, Numeracy, Science Literacy, Health Literacy, and Health Numeracy." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Science Literacy: Concepts, Contexts, and Consequences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23595.
×
Page 138
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Key Definitions and Statements about Literacy, Numeracy, Science Literacy, Health Literacy, and Health Numeracy." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Science Literacy: Concepts, Contexts, and Consequences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23595.
×
Page 139
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Key Definitions and Statements about Literacy, Numeracy, Science Literacy, Health Literacy, and Health Numeracy." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Science Literacy: Concepts, Contexts, and Consequences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23595.
×
Page 140
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Key Definitions and Statements about Literacy, Numeracy, Science Literacy, Health Literacy, and Health Numeracy." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Science Literacy: Concepts, Contexts, and Consequences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23595.
×
Page 141
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Key Definitions and Statements about Literacy, Numeracy, Science Literacy, Health Literacy, and Health Numeracy." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Science Literacy: Concepts, Contexts, and Consequences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23595.
×
Page 142
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Key Definitions and Statements about Literacy, Numeracy, Science Literacy, Health Literacy, and Health Numeracy." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Science Literacy: Concepts, Contexts, and Consequences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23595.
×
Page 143
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Key Definitions and Statements about Literacy, Numeracy, Science Literacy, Health Literacy, and Health Numeracy." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Science Literacy: Concepts, Contexts, and Consequences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23595.
×
Page 144
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Key Definitions and Statements about Literacy, Numeracy, Science Literacy, Health Literacy, and Health Numeracy." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Science Literacy: Concepts, Contexts, and Consequences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23595.
×
Page 145
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Key Definitions and Statements about Literacy, Numeracy, Science Literacy, Health Literacy, and Health Numeracy." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Science Literacy: Concepts, Contexts, and Consequences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23595.
×
Page 146
Next: Appendix B: Biographical Sketches of Committee Members and Staff »
Science Literacy: Concepts, Contexts, and Consequences Get This Book
×
Buy Paperback | $45.00 Buy Ebook | $35.99
MyNAP members save 10% online.
Login or Register to save!
Download Free PDF

Science is a way of knowing about the world. At once a process, a product, and an institution, science enables people to both engage in the construction of new knowledge as well as use information to achieve desired ends. Access to science—whether using knowledge or creating it—necessitates some level of familiarity with the enterprise and practice of science: we refer to this as science literacy.

Science literacy is desirable not only for individuals, but also for the health and well- being of communities and society. More than just basic knowledge of science facts, contemporary definitions of science literacy have expanded to include understandings of scientific processes and practices, familiarity with how science and scientists work, a capacity to weigh and evaluate the products of science, and an ability to engage in civic decisions about the value of science. Although science literacy has traditionally been seen as the responsibility of individuals, individuals are nested within communities that are nested within societies—and, as a result, individual science literacy is limited or enhanced by the circumstances of that nesting.

Science Literacy studies the role of science literacy in public support of science. This report synthesizes the available research literature on science literacy, makes recommendations on the need to improve the understanding of science and scientific research in the United States, and considers the relationship between scientific literacy and support for and use of science and research.

  1. ×

    Welcome to OpenBook!

    You're looking at OpenBook, NAP.edu's online reading room since 1999. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

    Do you want to take a quick tour of the OpenBook's features?

    No Thanks Take a Tour »
  2. ×

    Show this book's table of contents, where you can jump to any chapter by name.

    « Back Next »
  3. ×

    ...or use these buttons to go back to the previous chapter or skip to the next one.

    « Back Next »
  4. ×

    Jump up to the previous page or down to the next one. Also, you can type in a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page in the book.

    « Back Next »
  5. ×

    Switch between the Original Pages, where you can read the report as it appeared in print, and Text Pages for the web version, where you can highlight and search the text.

    « Back Next »
  6. ×

    To search the entire text of this book, type in your search term here and press Enter.

    « Back Next »
  7. ×

    Share a link to this book page on your preferred social network or via email.

    « Back Next »
  8. ×

    View our suggested citation for this chapter.

    « Back Next »
  9. ×

    Ready to take your reading offline? Click here to buy this book in print or download it as a free PDF, if available.

    « Back Next »
Stay Connected!