Numeracy indicator: A guide for employers

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Large print, braille, MP3 (audio), e-text and DAISY formats are available on demand by ordering online or calling 1 800 O-Canada (1-800-622-6232). If you use a teletypewriter (TTY), call 1-800-926-9105.

Please note this self-assessment tool aligns with the original Essential Skills Framework. In the future, a new or modified assessment tool may replace this one to align with the new Skills for Success model. Please visit this page in the coming months and beyond, to learn more about what is new!

This tool can be used by employers to learn more about the Numeracy skills of their employees. It gives an indication of skill levels by providing examples of Level 1 and Level 2 assessment questions. Using this tool allows employers to:

The questions duplicate actual workplace tasks performed in a variety of occupations but they do not require specialized knowledge to be correctly answered.


  1. Ensure that employees read and understand the instructions prior to completing the Indicator.
  2. Detach the correction sheet from the questions section.
  3. Set a time limit for employees to complete the Indicator. Typically, it should take no more than 20 minutes to complete.
  4. Mark the Indicator using the correction sheet, awarding one mark for each correct answer. Do not award partial marks.

Helpful tips

  • Employers may want to give employees the opportunity to self-administer and mark the tool.
  • Use of a calculator is permitted but not required.
  • Scores should always be kept confidential.
  • Indicators are also available for other essential skills.
  • If employees do not obtain at least a Level 2 on the Indicator, you may want to consider offering training and support to improve Numeracy skills.

Important note:

Administering this tool to employees will provide an indication of their skill levels. It should not be considered an assessment tool. The Indicator is meant to be a training tool that can be used to help you identify skills that may require upgrading in the workplace.

Numeracy indicator

The essential skills numeracy indicator is a tool designed to help you better understand your Numeracy skills. It consists of 10 examples of assessment questions to give you an indication of your skill level. The first 5 questions are easier (Level 1) and the next 5 are slightly more difficult (Level 2).

Essential skills levels range from Level 1 (basic) to Level 4/5 (advanced). You can use the Indicator to help identify if numeracy is an area where you might need some additional training. Improving your skills can help you perform your job more effectively or prepare for a career change.

The questions in the Indicator are based on actual numeracy tasks performed in the workplace. You do not need specialized knowledge to answer any of the questions.

Some questions require limited use of other skills. For example, you have to use Reading skills to understand a written numeracy question.


  1. Allow yourself no more than 20 minutes to complete the Indicator.
  2. Write your answers directly on the Indicator in the space provided.
  3. Use of a calculator is permitted but not required.
  4. If you are marking your own Indicator, use the correction sheet provided at the back. Give yourself one point for each correct answer. Do not give yourself partial marks.

Helpful tips

  • If you do not know the answer to a question, skip it and move on to the next question. You can always come back to it later.
  • Use the Indicator to help identify areas in which you may need skills upgrading.
  • Indicators are also available for other Essential Skills.
  • If you did not achieve at least a Level 2 on the Indicator, you may want to consider upgrading your Numeracy skills.

Numeracy indicator

Level 1

Question # 1: An office uses 2 packages of paper per day. How many packages of paper will the office use in a 5-day work week?


Question # 2: Look at the red line in the diagram below. What is the length of the line?


This is an image of a ruler or measuring tape in centimeters from zero to thirty. The red line represents the cable measuring twenty four centimeters.

Question # 3: A boilermaker is reading pressure gauges to ensure they are within a normal range. The normal operating range for water pressure is 25 to 35 psi (pounds per square inch). If a boilermaker finds that the water pressure gauge reads 39 psi, by how much must it be reduced so the psi reading is back within the normal range (35 psi)?


Question # 4: Look at the library report on overdue books below. Enter Sandra Roy's total late fee in the space provided.

Overdue books Sandra Roy
Book title Days overdue Late fee
How to paint in watercolour 5 $3.75
Lakes of Canada 3 $2.25
World travel 2 $1.50
Total $

Question # 5: An airline sales agent has just been advised that a flight will be delayed by 2 hours. Flight DG386 was originally scheduled to arrive at 13:00. What is the new arrival time for Flight DG386?

Level 2

Question # 6: Look at the table below. Enter the total value of chips received by Henry Rogers in the space provided.

Chips received by Henry Rogers
Chip colour Value per chip ($) Number of chips Chip value ($)
Red 10 20
Black 50 4
Total $

Question # 7: Look at the diagram below. What is the area of the room?

This is an image of a rectangle with a length of 5 meters and a width of 12 meters.

Question # 8: A motor vehicle assembler is scheduling the ordering of car parts. The deadline for receiving the fan belts is the end of the business day on May 25.

Fan belts take 7 days to deliver, starting from the day the order is placed, up to and including the day of delivery. Delivery time does not include weekends (Saturday and Sunday).

Circle the latest date that the motor vehicle assembler can order the fan belts on the calendar below.

May 2006
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday


2 3 4 5 6


8 9 10 11 12 13


15 16 17 18 19 20


22 23 24 25 26 27


29 30 31

Question # 9: A hotel guest would like to pay her bill using American currency. The hotel bill is $100 Canadian.

Look at the currency converter below.
How much does the guest owe in American currency?


Currency converter
Canadian currency American currency
$1.00 = $0.8865

Question # 10: Look at the vitamin information chart below. What is the price of each pill?


Re-Gen vitamin pills
Vitamine A (per pill) 1000 UI
Vitamine C (per pill) 90 mg
Vitamine D (per pill) 400 UI
Iron (per pill) 10 mg
Number of pills per package 60
Cost per package $12

Correction sheet

Marking guide

  • Award one mark for each correct answer, as indicated below.
  • Do not award partial marks.
  • Add the total score for each level. A score of 3 out of 5 or less in either section may indicate that skills upgrading would be beneficial.

Numeracy – Level 1

1. 10

2. 24

3. -4 or 4

4. 7.50

5. 15:00 or 3:00 pm

Total – Level 1: /5

Numeracy – Level 2

6. 400

7. 60

8. May 17

9. 88.65

10. 0.20

Total – Level 2: /5

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