A new support package has been unveiled for schools in Wales to help teach numerical reasoning, which is to become part of the Welsh government's reading and numeracy tests from May 2014.
Education minister Huw Lewis launched the new initiative, which is to provide £833,000 of funding to support the implementation of the new assessments.
Numerical reasoning is intended to help young people acquire problem-solving skills in mathematics.
The National Support Programme is being boosted by the Welsh government to make numerical reasoning materials available to schools via the Learning Wales website. These materials have been designed to support those in teaching jobs to develop children's proficiency in the subject.
Several professional development training events are due to take place over the coming months to ensure the changes are implemented in a sustainable way. These events have been developed in partnership with National Numeracy.
Mr Lewis said: "Numerical reasoning is extremely important for our young people to grasp and is a key skill employers tell us they want from their workers. It’s not about just being able to 'do' maths, it's about using information to solve numerical problems.
"Pupils need to be able to look at a question and decide which numerical skills they need to use, and what steps to take to answer that question."
He said pupils need to have the confidence to tackle difficult questions and need to understand where they have gone wrong if they fail to get the correct answer.
This must happen, he claimed, if students are to improve in international assessments.
In the latest Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) rankings, the performance of Welsh students in maths was found to be below the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development average and that of other countries in the UK.
The results led the education minister to issue a statement saying "systemic weaknesses" in the education system need to be addressed. He said the policies the government is pursuing to raise standards are designed to bring about long-term improvements.
Earlier this month, it was announced that teachers from Shanghai are to be invited to schools in England to share their knowledge of maths teaching and help boost the performance of English pupils.
Posted by Harriet McGowan