quantitative reasoning, math pathways, STEM
Quantitative Reasoning (QR) is essential for today’s students, yet most higher education institutions have not effectively addressed this issue. This study investigates students’ quantitative reasoning in STEM and Non-STEM math pathways using a non-proprietary, NSF grant-funded instrument, the Quantitative Literacy & Reasoning Assessment (QLRA). Participants were students enrolled in at least one college-level math pathway course at a large public institution in the southeastern US. The results showed a significant difference between STEM and Non-STEM students’ QLRA scores, with STEM students (n = 244, M = 27%, SD = 16.21%) scoring, on average, about 6% higher than Non-STEM students (n = 295, M = 21.1%, SD =11.38%). STEM students who were further along in their math sequence, i.e. Pre-calculus/Trigonometry and Calculus I, had a higher QLRA score than those taking the gateway math courses in that pathway. Non-STEM students who took additional math courses also had a higher QLRA score than those in the entry-level math course. However, the students overall had relatively low QR skills (n = 539, M = 23.78%, SD = 14.07%). These results highlight the need for an increased understanding of the math pathways initiative and its relationship with quantitative reasoning. Thoughtful and deliberate scrutiny of curriculum and pedagogy is important in all math pathways as it relates to the development of quantitative reasoning skills.
Elrod, Emily, and Joo Young Park. "A Comparison of Students’ Quantitative Reasoning Skills in STEM and Non-STEM Math Pathways." Numeracy 13, Iss. 2 (2020): Article 3. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5038/1936-46188.8.131.529
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