# Quantitative Reasoning Resources

We aim to support all students in strengthening their understanding and application of mathematical, logical, and statistical skills.

## What is Quantitative Reasoning?

According to The Mathematical Association of America, "A quantitatively literate college graduate should be able to:

• Interpret mathematical models such as formulas, graphs, tables, and schematics, and draw inferences from them.
• Represent mathematical information symbolically, visually, numerically, and verbally. Use arithmetical, algebraic, geometric and statistical methods to solve problems.
• Estimate and check answers to mathematical problems in order to determine reasonableness, identify alternatives, and select optimal results.
• Recognize that mathematical and statistical methods have limits."
• Interpret mathematical models such as formulas, graphs, tables, and schematics, and draw inferences from them.
• Represent mathematical information symbolically, visually, numerically, and verbally. Use arithmetical, algebraic, geometric and statistical methods to solve problems.
• Estimate and check answers to mathematical problems in order to determine reasonableness, identify alternatives, and select optimal results.
• Recognize that mathematical and statistical methods have limits.

The MAA guidelines further explain quantitative literacy expectations of college students: "The level of sophistication and maturity of thinking expected of a college student should extend to a capability for quantitive reasoning which is commensurate with the college experience. College students should be expected to go beyond routine problem solving to handle problem situations of greater complexity and diversity, and to connect ideas and procedures more readily with other topics both within and outside mathematics."

## QR Study Groups

A QR study group is a small group of students who work together once or twice a week under the leadership of a trained Learning Assistant, to discuss concepts, solve problems, and improve studying strategies.

More than 160 Learning Assistants met on Zoom in early February to go over logistics, expectations and possibilities they may encounter on the job. In addition, modules on the Science of Learning, Small Teaching Online and Inclusive and Antiracist Peer Support are completed.

## What is Quantitative Literacy?

QL is interdisciplinary and involves seeking and analyzing quantitative information for applications in daily living, both personal and professional. Students encounter examples of QL in courses throughout their college curriculum, just as they will encounter QL in a variety of situations after graduation.

The text Mathematics and Democracy1 carefully lays out the case for Quantitative Literacy (QL) in terms of requisite elements, expressions, and skills. The authors of the design team provide the rationale for a robust Quantitative Reasoning (QR) curriculum:

Quantitatively literate citizens need to know more than formulas and equations. They need a predisposition to look at the world through mathematical eyes, to see the benefits (and risks) of thinking quantitatively about commonplace issues, and to approach complex problems with confidence in the value of careful reasoning. Quantitative literacy empowers people by giving them the tools to think for themselves, to ask intelligent questions of experts, and to confront authority confidently. These are the skills required to thrive in the modern world. (p.2 NCED)

We believe proportional reasoning underlies the skill set required to effectively communicate with numbers, while spreadsheets provide a platform for engaging with complex problems that are “anchored in data derived from and attached to the empirical world.” (p.5 NCED) QR curriculum is distinguished from traditional mathematics in that the context drives the content in QR, and in teaching QR: “content is inseparable from pedagogy and context is inseparable from content.” (p.18 NCED)

1National Council on Education and the Disciplines (NCED). Ed. Lynn Steen et. al. Mathematics and Democracy: The Case for Quantitative Literacy. 2001

### National Numeracy Network Resources

The National Numeracy Network (sponsored by NSF, Dartmouth, and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation) offers support for integrating QL into all disciplines.

Eric Gaze, Director of the QR Program, has been a member of the National Numeracy Network since its founding in 2004. He has served as Vice President 2011-13 and President 2014-19. The NNN offers an online, open source journal, Numeracy, that is a great resource for educators. The NNN hosts a conference every year, details found on the website.

### Resources Supporting Quantitative Literacy

Eric Gaze, Director of the QR Program, writes a blog linking real world articles to content in the MATH 1050: Quantitative Reasoning course at Bowdoin. Articles, quizzes and discussion of the articles are all found on the blog.

Eric also has written a QR textbook/e-course: Thinking Quantitatively: Communicating with Numbers, 2nd edition, Pearson Publishing 2019 Boston, MA. This e-course can be accessed through the Pearson website for educators.