Adult Numeracy Center

Lead Staff:
Heidi Schuler-Jones
Project Staff:
Sherry Soares
Connie Rivera


Creating engaging mathematics learning experiences has long been a focus of TERC’s work. Numeracy — the ability to manage the quantitative demands of a situation to solve problems in real contexts — is at the heart of much that adults need to do. The Adult Numeracy Center at TERC helps adults and young adults understand how math is present and relevant in everyday life, and how they can use this knowledge to improve their lives and communities. The National Research Council’s definition of mathematical proficiency guides our work with learners, teachers, directors, and professional development providers. Together with state and local partners we build capacity to offer high quality math instruction in adult education programs, community colleges, community-based organizations, the corrections system, and workplace education programs.

Body of Work

SABES Mathematics and Adult Numeracy Curriculum & Instruction PD Center

In 2014, the Adult Numeracy Center at TERC was chosen to be the new SABES Mathematics and Adult Numeracy Curriculum & Instruction PD Center. The Center serves education practitioners and administrators in Massachusetts by offering math professional development on a variety of topics in both face-to-face and online formats. PD offerings cover a range of math content areas, as well as teaching strategies appropriate for learners at all levels (including ESOL and LD learners. The Center’s work is built upon research in adult numeracy pedagogy, the College and Career Readiness Standards for Adult Education (CCRSAE) Funder: Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Adult and Community Learning Services Division.

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Adults Reaching Algebra Readiness (AR)2

AR2 Logo (AR)is a research-based professional development series that builds upon the content presented in ANI (the Adult Numeracy lnitiative). During the sessions, teachers build on their own conceptual understanding of algebraic topics while learning new ways to teach for understanding. Participants meet over the course of three 2-day face-to-face sessions and participate in support activities between each session. This PD series was designed to make direct connections to the CCRSAE. For more details on session content and the pedagogy behind the training, please contact

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CAM (Curriculum for Accelerated Math) 

Have you been looking for ways to integrate conceptual understanding and real-world application into your direct instruction but simply don’t have the time to pull the best resources into a great lesson plan? If so, then CAM is here to help! CAM is for adult learners at the pre-ASE/ASE level whose goals are career- and college-readiness. Each of the nine units in this curriculum helps students develop coherence across math domains including number sense, geometry and measurement, probability and statistics, and algebra. Each lesson plan is filled with dynamic and engaging hands-on activities to develop mathematical proficiency within those domains at a pace that invites students and teachers to ‘slow down in order to speed up’. Throughout the curriculum, students make connections between foundational concepts and higher-level math using concrete and visual representations to make the more abstract content more accessible and applicable beyond any high-stakes test. We provide PD support to ensure teachers can successfully implement CAM as they learn new math strategies themselves. Please contact for more information.

CALM: Curriculum For Adults Learning Math

CALM incorporates the CCRSAE content standards as well as the Standards for Mathematical Practice. It also clearly addresses the key instructional shifts: focus, coherence, and rigor. CALM does not include every single standard, but rather focuses on those key standards needed for adults to be successful math thinkers. CALM follows a coherent continuum that helps students developmentally progress through math topics by making connections among different math content. And, CALM addresses all three aspects of rigor: conceptual understanding, application, and procedural skill and fluency. Professional development support for CALM is available. Please contact

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Empower Logo The EMPower program is a workbook series of seven titles (each with a teacher and student version) that fills the tremendous need for a math and numeracy program for adult basic education. Unlike traditional math materials, EMPower stresses conceptual understanding. EMPower helps adults develop mathematical proficiency to more effectively engage with the world, whether that be at work, at home as parents and caregivers, in the community, or as they seek high school credentials and further education.

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EMPower™ Workshops

Empower Logo EMPower professional development workshops are an opportunity for adult numeracy teachers interested in maximizing the quality of mathematics instruction for adults and out of school youth. The workshops make math accessible to teachers at all levels of “math comfort”—from the skittish to the confident. Together, teachers expand their ideas of what it means to do math, focusing on reasoning, communication, and problem solving (in adult contexts) with a variety of approaches and strategies, not just rote memorization of procedures. EMPower workshops are available for state- and program-based groups, as well as community colleges. TERC has previously delivered workshops for the Arizona Department of Education, Kentucky Adult Education, Kansas Board of Regents, Maine Department of Education, NYC Office of Adult and Continuing Education, the California Council for Adult Education, and others. Contact for more details.

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TIAN (Teachers Investigating Adult Numeracy)

TIAN Logo TERC, in partnership with the Center for Literacy Studies at the University of Tennessee, developed, piloted, and field-tested TIAN, an approach to standards-based mathematics in-service professional development, using each state’s standards and the EMPower program. TIAN uses teacher inquiry and reflective learning to engage teachers in learning how to design and implement effective mathematics instructional approaches for algebra, data analysis, and number sense. The TIAN approach builds on the team’s groundbreaking work in standards and curricular materials development in adult mathematics education and in collaborative professional development. Key components of the year-long model include an initial institute on data, a second institute on algebra, classroom investigations, regional teacher meetings between institutes, website support, and a final institute. TIAN was piloted and field-tested with math teachers in six states whose adult students have math skills at the ABE, pre-GED, and GED levels. Funder: National Science Foundation, Grant No. ESI-0455610.

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Adult Numeracy Instruction (ANI) Professional Development

TERC partnered with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) to implement a nationwide, revised version of a year-long adult numeracy professional development model for practitioners. This initiative builds on TERC’s TIAN project and the successful pilot of Adult Numeracy Instruction — PD created by the University of Tennessee, MPR Associates, Rutgers University, and TERC. To date, TERC’s Adult Numeracy Center staff has led ANI institutes in CT, IN, WI, and mentored a cadre of national trainers. Funder: OCTAE ANI Professional Development is currently managed by LINCS. Please visit their site for more details.