quantitative reasoning, student learning, quantitative literacy, research questions


Numerous questions about student learning of quantitative reasoning arose as we developed, taught and assessed the Quantitative Reasoning in the Contemporary World course described in the companion paper in this issue of Numeracy. In this paper, we present some of those questions and describe the context in which they arose. They fall into eight general problem areas: learning that is context-bound and does not easily transfer (i.e., situated learning); the need for a productive disposition regarding mathematics; the connection between QL and mathematical proficiency; the persistence of students, despite our efforts, for using the wrong base for percents; the inconsistent and sometimes incorrect language in media articles on percent and percent change; the need for students to possess quantitative benchmarks in order to comprehend the size of large quantities and to know when their answers are unreasonable; students’ avoidance of using the algebra they learned in the prerequisite course; and conflation of “bigger” and “better”. We offer these questions as products of our experience with this course in order to encourage future research on issues that affect teaching similar courses that develop QR skills in undergraduate students.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

QRCW-AppendixA.pdf (123 kB)
Example Case Study from Course Casebook

QRCWAppendixBNumeracy.pdf (218 kB)
Pre- and Post-Course Assessments, Fall 2007

QRCWAppendixCNumeracy.pdf (285 kB)
Pre- and Post-Course Assessments, Spring 2008

QRCW-AppendixD.pdf (50 kB)
Survey of Former QRCW Students