Quantitative reasoning

Quantitative reasoning (QR) is defined as the habit of mind to apply data and quantitative tools to a wide range of problems in personal, professional, and public contexts. The ability to think quantitatively clearly plays a central role in undergraduate education. By one definition, quantitative reasoning (QR) is the application of basic mathematics 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. It is not just mathematics.

Ultimately, QR requires students to think critically and apply basic mathematics and statistics skills to interpret data, draw conclusions, and solve problems within a disciplinary or interdisciplinary context. Indeed, it requires the kind of mathematical and statistical skills that should be developed in high school, so all college students should have the basic skills required to achieve this broader, more ambitious college-level outcome. It is a competency of integration and application, both of which are intellectual capacities up near the top of the cognitive skills taxonomy originally described by Bloom (1956).

Assignments that develop QR can also elicit a demonstration of achievement of other key outcomes like writing and/or oral communication as well as information literacy aspects. While many espouse the importance of QR, higher education faculty and administrators need to expand the ways we provide students with learning opportunities to understand and practice this set of skills.

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