In order to become effective citizens, workers, advocates –indeed in order to perform a great variety of roles– students must become competent in using and reading quantitative data, in understanding quantitative evidence and in applying basic quantitative skills so that they can solve real life problems. Such skills are usually taught through work in mathematics and statistics courses, but they can be taught more effectively through work in courses within the students’ chosen major (or minor) discipline. A program that involves quantitative reasoning across the curriculum gives students the opportunity to learn the broad significance and applicability of quantitative reasoning in the particular subjects that are meaningful, important and interesting to them.
The Quantitative Reasoning Requirement at Hollins
In 2001 Hollins University implemented a two part Quantitative Reasoning program consisting of a QR Basic Skills requirement and an QR Applied Skills requirement. This program will ensure that all Hollins graduates have not only a mastery of basic quantitative reasoning skills but also an appreciation for how these skills apply to the liberal arts curriculum.
The QR Basic Skills Requirement
The QR basic skills requirement is designed to help students gain an understanding of fundamental mathematical skills that they need to be successful in courses that require quantitative reasoning. The basic skills requirement can be satisfied by achieving a satisfactory score on the Quantitative Reasoning Assessment (given to new students every fall) or by passing Mathematics 100, Introduction to Quantitative Reasoning. This basic skills requirement is a prerequisite for all courses satisfying the QR applied skills requirement and must be completed by the end of each student’s sophomore year. A student who has satisfied the QR basic skills requirement will demonstrate a baseline understanding of various quantitative topics (algebra, graphing, geometry, data analysis and linearity).
The QR Applied Skills Requirement
The applied skills requirement is designed to provide students with the opportunity to apply mathematical and quantitative skills as they solve problems in their chosen disciplines. The applied skills requirement can be satisfied by passing a course designated as a QR applied course. Our goal is for students to choose a QR applied course in their major or minor field. A QR applied course should involve students in the application of quantitative skills that arise naturally in the course, in a way that advances the goals of the course and in a manner than is not merely a rote application of a mathematical procedure. Writing, student collaboration and thoughtful use of instructional technology all have important places in a QR applied course.