Quantitative Reason (QR) skills refer to students’ ability to apply data and numerical evidence to theoretical questions.  Quantitative reasoning (QR) is, “the application of basic math skills, such as algebra, to the analysis and interpretation of real-world quantitative information in the context of a discipline or an interdisciplinary problem to draw conclusions that are relevant to students in their daily lives.” (AACU)

Competency in quantitative reasoning, also sometimes referred to as quantitative literacy, represents a student’s ability to use quantifiable information and mathematical analysis to make connections and draw conclusions. Students with strong quantitative literacy skills understand and can create sophisticated arguments supported by quantitative evidence and can clearly communicate those arguments in a variety of formats (using words, tables, graphs, mathematical equations, etc.)

Why are quantitative reasoning skills important?

The ability to think clearly and critically about quantitative issues is imperative in contemporary society.  Today, quantitative reasoning is required in virtually all academic fields, is used in almost every profession, and is necessary for decision-making in everyday life. QR is essential in teaching students to think critically and apply basic mathematics skills to interpret data, draw conclusions, and solve problems within a disciplinary and interdisciplinary context.

How do we assess quantitative reasoning at BCC?

At Bronx Community College, we are committed to ensuring that students are equipped with the necessary skills to become quantitatively literate.  BCC is committed to infusing numerical literacy across all curriculums. This starts with Math and Quantitative Reasoning (MQR) courses laid out in the Pathways Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs), which are designed to equip students across academic disciplines with the quantitative reasoning (QR) skills needed for their professional and personal lives, and their civic responsibilities. The centerpiece of this initiative is a 30-credit general education core.

At BCC, Quantitative Reasoning is defined as “The Ability to reason and solve problems using quantitative evidence in various fields of interest and in everyday life.”  As part of this definition, quantitative reasoning skill is about students’ ability to (1) Read and understand information presented in mathematical forms, (2) calculate and apply information to solve problems; (3) analyze and interpret quantitative results, and (4) apply and/or communicates (explain) quantitative results.

Resources:

Niche (Numeracy Infusion Course for Higher Education)
The Numeracy Infusion Course for Higher Education (NICHE) is a project of the City University of New York (CUNY) Quantitative Reasoning (QR) Alliance to foster the infusion of QR instruction and assessment into undergraduate courses in a broad range of disciplines. The NICHE website is intended to provide a repository of resources and information for faculty from across disciplines who are seeking to infuse numeracy into their course instruction.

The National Numeracy Network
The National Numeracy Network (NNN) is a multidisciplinary US-based organization that promotes numeracy, i.e., the ability to reason and to apply simple numerical concepts. The organization sponsors an annual conference and its website provides a repository of resources for teaching numeracy.

AAC&U
The American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) recommends six QR skills to be assessed in students’ work as part of the AAC&U’s Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education (VALUE) initiative.  The QR VALUE rubric, developed by faculty and other educational professionals from over 100 higher education institutions, is one of 16 VALUE rubrics of the LEAP Essential Learning Outcomes.

Quantitative Literacy Books:

Quantitative Literacy: Thinking Between the Lines  by Bruce C. Crauder, Benny Evans, Jerry Johnson, Alan Noell
Quantitative Literacy shows students that they use math in their everyday lives more than they realize, and that learning math in real-world contexts not only makes it easier to get better grades, but prepares them for decisions they’ll face about money, voting, and politics, health issues, and much more. The authors draw on a wide range of examples to give students basic mathematical tools― from sports to personal finance to sociopolitical action to medical tests to the arts―with coverage that neatly balances discussions of ideas with computational practice.

Developing Quantitative Literacy Skills in History and the Social Sciences: A Web-Based Common Core Standards Approach by Kathleen Craver
This book features 85 interesting and exciting multi-century and multicultural websites that are accompanied by numerical critical thinking questions and activities. Teachers can pose the questions to their entire class or individually assign them. It also contains lists of best practices and examples for interpreting, visualizing, and displaying quantitative data. History and social sciences educators will find this book an indispensable tool for incorporating numerical literacy skills into their class activities and assignments.