Quantitative Reasoning in the Disciplines
What is Quantitative Reasoning?
The Montgomery College General Education Assessment Rubric for Quantitative Reasoning states: “Quantitative Reasoning includes the ability to interpret and represent data; perform mathematical calculations and carry out an analysis with clear assumptions; and finally communicate results appropriately."
The National Numeracy Network provides the following definitionnew window: “the power and habit of mind to search out quantitative information, critique it, reflect upon it and apply it in their public, personal and professional lives.”
The AAC&U VALUE Rubricnew window defines QR (using the phrasing of Quantitative Literacy) as: “a ‘habit of mind,’ competency, and comfort in working with numerical data. Individuals with strong QL skills possess the ability to reason and solve quantitative problems from a wide array of authentic contexts and everyday life situations. They understand and can create sophisticated arguments supported by quantitative evidence and they can clearly communicate those arguments in a variety of formats (using words, tables graphs, mathematical equations, etc., as appropriate.”
For a more specific list of ways of thinking about QE, see Carleton College’s “Ten Foundational Quantitative Reasoning Questions”new windowQRID Fellowship Program Application
Vision and Mission Statement
QRID Resources for Faculty
- Carleton College’s QuIRK (Quantitative Inquiry, Reasoning, and Knowledge) Programnew window
- Bowdoin College Quantitative Reasoning Program
- Wellesley College’s Quantitative Reasoning Programnew window
- Colby-Sawyer College – Quantitative Literacy Across the Curriculum
- Bridgewater State College’s QuAC (Quantity Across the Curriculum) Programnew window
- Middlesex Community College’s Math Across the Curriculum Program
- Salt Lake Community College’s Quantitative Literacy Rubric Development Guide
- Sense about Science USAnew window (affiliated with George Mason University)
- Mathematical Association of America new window
- Repository of bad data usagenew window
Course/s: POLI101, American Government
Author: Jennifer Haydel, Political Science
Summary: Students to find and analyze voter turnout data, represent a significant element of the data in a graph, and use the graphed data to make recommendations for improving voter turnout.
Amount of Time Required: 1-2 weeks for students to complete with 3 50-minute class sessions; assignment could be broken up into shorter parts in order to take up less class time
Quantitative Reasoning Elements: finding and interpreting data; creating a graph; analyzing the uses and limits of public opinion polling; writing about quantitative evidence; applying quantitative evidence to real-world policy questions
Other Elements: Writing in the Disciplines; Integrative Learning
Jennifer Haydel is Coordinator of the Quantitative Reasoning in the Disciplines Program. She teaches Political Science classes on the Germantown Campus.
“Quantitative Reasoning skills are crucial for effective political participation. Students need to be able to analyze and interpret numbers provided in news sources, investigate numerical claims used numbers used in advertisements and campaigns, and effectively communicate ideas informed by quantitative and qualitative evidence.”
Sara Bachman Ducey is Collegewide Chair for Integrative Studies and Paul Peck Humanities Institute Director. She teaches nutrition (NUTR101) on the Rockville campus.
“My students report enjoying the quantitative reasoning activities that I’ve added to my Intro Nutrition course. These activities prepare them to address and answer questions for themselves rather than waiting for me to tell them the answers.”
Ingrid Scott teaches in the Mathematics and Statistics Department on the Rockville Campus.
“The infusion of quantitative reasoning throughout our programs of study equips students with the analytical/critical thinking skills and numeracy necessary for them to participate fully as workers and citizens and navigate our information and technologically rich society.”
Fotis Nifiatis, PhD, MBA teaches Chemistry on the Silver Spring/Takoma Park Campus.
“Quantitative reasoning skills are essential to everyday life. In our modern days, frequently arguments are presented in ways that require fundamental knowledge of the use and misuse of quantitative concepts and methods.”
María-Elvira Luna-Escudero-Alie, PhD, teaches French and Spanish courses at Takoma Park-Silver Spring Campus
“Developing the skill of critical thinking is crucial for our students’ academic success, and quantitative reasoning is indeed a fundamental part of that essential academic skill.
Often my students seem to fear numbers and even more so to read them in French or Spanish. Just doing simple mathematical equations and unsophisticated problems using for instance, decimals, seems overwhelming to them. I am confident that by giving them opportunities to practice quantitative reasoning, “the affective filter” of the classroom will be lower, and with less stress and more confidence in their abilities and knowledge, students will also improve in their overall foreign language acquisition.”
Pam Wallentiny teaches English and Reading and is an LEED Green Associate.
"MC is committed to changing the numbers narrative."
Sonja Fisher has taught at MC for 10 years, first as a part-timer, in the School of Education.
"In the Humanities, we learn to "interrogate the text". We begin with the surface questions of what is it, who wrote it, and when; then move to deeper understanding by examining context and purposes; and eventually we come to see a particular text as an artifact that can speak to us of a particular time and culture, beyond the intent of the author.
I see a need for all of us to learn to "interrogate the numbers" that bombard us daily, and I want to help my students develop the critical thinking to do just that. If our future teachers develop number sense and learn the tools of quantitative reasoning, they can pass it on.
Kay Ahmad, Ed.D., teaches in the American English Language Program (AELP).
“Quantitative reasoning is a powerful tool for students as they interpret and convey numerical information in their courses and as they develop life skills for tasks beyond the classroom.”
“One student + numerical information + quantitative reasoning = quantitative intelligence and competence”
Diane K. McDaniel, Ph.D., teaches Geology and Physical Sciences at the Germantown Campus.
“The ability to reason quantitatively has never been more important than it is today, yet we (students and instructors alike) have a tendency to compartmentalize skills. Numbers belong in math, accounting, and physics. Yet we know this isn't true. Judging election year rhetoric, planning our diet, understanding our medical treatments, creating a new ceramics glaze--all of these require an ability to weigh, compare and evaluate quantitative data.”
Timothy Fuss teaches in the Nursing Department on the Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus.
“Quantitative reasoning is important in nursing for a variety of reasons. Nurses do calculations every day that could be a matter of life and death. From the smallest infants to the oldest adults, medication dosages must often be calculated based on weight, laboratory values and a variety of other factors. Nurses also must have a working knowledge of statistics in order to interpret, share and apply research findings.”
Workgroup Resource Members
John Hamman is Dean of Mathematics & Statistics and still has head-slapping moments in the classroom.
I believe that quantitative reasoning is important not just in education or in one discipline but in all aspects of our students’ lives. In particular we need to encourage our students to use “creatical thinking” which is the area of overlap between critical thinking and creative thinking allowing students the benefits of both styles of thinking. I am thrilled to be working with such a diverse and impassioned group determined to make this a reality at Montgomery College.
Angela Lanier, Ed.D. is an Instructional Designer with E-Learning, Innovation and Teaching Excellence (ELITE)
“If you reason effectively with quantitative data, you are more likely to persuade. If you interpret quantitative data accurately and ask the right questions about the data, you are less likely to get duped.”
Stephen (Chip) Gladson is the College Coordinator of the Writing in the Disciplines Program. He teaches English classes on the Germantown campus.
“Quantitative Reasoning in the Disciplines and Writing in the Disciplines at Montgomery College share a common goal. We want to engage students in essential forms of inquiry, unlocking the power of numbers and of words, in all disciplines.”