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Quantitative literacy

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Full-Text Articles in Science and Mathematics Education

The World In Your Pocket: Digital Media As Invitations For Transdisciplinary Inquiry In Mathematics Classrooms, Lynette Deaun Guzmán, Jeffrey Craig Mar 2019

The World In Your Pocket: Digital Media As Invitations For Transdisciplinary Inquiry In Mathematics Classrooms, Lynette Deaun Guzmán, Jeffrey Craig

Occasional Paper Series

Building a curriculum from online digital media may provide opportunities for students to draw on their funds of knowledge, deconstruct dominant narratives, and engage with complex multimodal artifacts. We focus on an example of how we have used a digital infographic, The World as 100 People, to unpack global and local issues in mathematics classrooms. Using digital media as invitations for critical mathematical inquiry, we call for mathematics educators to push back on (1) the way mathematics should be formally taught in schools, and (2) a common practice of social media restrictions in schools.


The Gini Index: A Lens For Analyzing Inequality In An Interdisciplinary College Classroom, Jared Warner, Vivian Lim Jan 2019

The Gini Index: A Lens For Analyzing Inequality In An Interdisciplinary College Classroom, Jared Warner, Vivian Lim

Numeracy

The Gini index is one of the most commonly used indicators of income inequality, and its computation and interpretation require a thorough understanding of various quantitative literacy concepts. In this article, we describe a unit for an interdisciplinary quantitative literacy course at a community college that treats concepts of ratio and proportion, percentages, and mathematical modeling through an exploration of income inequality and the Gini index. The broader theme of the interdisciplinary course is immigration, so the unit also invites students to explore connections between the Gini index and immigration. Employing in-class simulations, interactive online applets, and real-world data sets ...


An Uncommon Textbook: Review Of Common Sense Mathematics By Ethan Bolker And Maura Mast, Bernard Madison Jan 2019

An Uncommon Textbook: Review Of Common Sense Mathematics By Ethan Bolker And Maura Mast, Bernard Madison

Numeracy

Ethan D. Bolker and Maura B. Mast. 2016. Common Sense Mathematics.(Washington DC.: Mathematics Association of America) ISBN-13: 978-1-93951-210-9.

Common Sense Mathematics is an integrative quantitative reasoning (QR) textbook that is built around scores of exercises derived from authentic circumstances from public media and other public sources. The exercises elicit responses from students requiring extensive communication and analyses and distinguish the book from ones typically encountered in a mathematics or science course. Responses to exercises often require one-half page or more of writing and can occupy considerable class time in discussion. The book has material for a one- or two-semester ...


Review Of Towards Equity And Justice In Mathematics Education, Edited By Tonya Gau Bartell, Emily Lardner Jan 2019

Review Of Towards Equity And Justice In Mathematics Education, Edited By Tonya Gau Bartell, Emily Lardner

Numeracy

Tonya Grau Bartell, editor. 2018.Toward Equity and Social Justice in Mathematics Education. (Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing). 341 pp. ISBN 978-3-319-92906-4 (also available as an e-book).

Toward Equity and Social Justice in Mathematics Education is a welcome addition to ongoing conversations about what mathematics should be taught and how it should be taught at both the college and pre-college level. Although the primary audience for the volume will be math educators and researchers, readers of this journal will discover intersecting interests, concerns, and strategies.


Numeracy And Social Justice: A Wide, Deep, And Longstanding Intersection, Kira Hamman, Victor Piercey, Samuel L. Tunstall Jan 2019

Numeracy And Social Justice: A Wide, Deep, And Longstanding Intersection, Kira Hamman, Victor Piercey, Samuel L. Tunstall

Numeracy

We discuss the connection between the numeracy and social justice movements both in historical context and in its modern incarnation. The intersection between numeracy and social justice encompasses a wide variety of disciplines and quantitative topics, but within that variety there are important commonalities. We examine the importance of sound quantitative measures for understanding social issues and the necessity of interdisciplinary collaboration in this work. Particular reference is made to the papers in the first part of the Numeracy special collection on social justice, which appear in this issue.


The Connection Between Financial Literacy And Numeracy: A Case Study From India, J.D Jayaraman, Saigeetha Jambunathan, Kenneth Counselman Jul 2018

The Connection Between Financial Literacy And Numeracy: A Case Study From India, J.D Jayaraman, Saigeetha Jambunathan, Kenneth Counselman

Numeracy

Making financial decisions involves mathematical calculations, both simple and complex. It is a well-documented fact that financial literacy levels among young people all over the world are quite low and that these low levels contribute to various undesirable outcomes with respect to personal financial well-being and the economy as a whole. This study explores the relationship between financial literacy and numeracy by measuring and modeling the relationship between financial literacy and numeracy levels among high school students (N = 586) in India. The results show a strong relationship between numeracy and financial literacy skills. Low numeracy is associated with a 4 ...


Six Propositions Of A Social Theory Of Numeracy: Interpreting An Influential Theory Of Literacy, Jeffrey Craig, Lynette Guzmán Jul 2018

Six Propositions Of A Social Theory Of Numeracy: Interpreting An Influential Theory Of Literacy, Jeffrey Craig, Lynette Guzmán

Numeracy

We share our experiences comprehending social theory as it applies to numeracy scholarship. We build on existing arguments that social theory—explicitly acknowledging the presence and influence of histories, power, and purposes—offers something important to scholars who study and discuss numeracy. In this article, we translate the six propositions of one particular social theory of literacy into propositions about numeracy, then we explore the meaning of each proposition, its connections to existing scholarship, and its implications. This article emerges from two literature reviews: one on social theories (especially their application to and development in literacy) and one on numeracy ...


Quantitative Literacy: Now More Than Ever, Gail O. Mellow Jul 2018

Quantitative Literacy: Now More Than Ever, Gail O. Mellow

Numeracy

This editorial highlights the eloquent words of Drs. Bernard Madison and Lynn Arthur Steen who, in the inaugural issue of Numeracy, note that quantitative literacy (QL) provides “tools for survival” in a highly competitive world. I discuss how QL is desperately needed at a precarious time for our nation’s democracy and how at LaGuardia Community College, and community colleges across the nation, important and creative work is being undertaken to build students’ math skills. The pivotal role of faculty is discussed and a call is made for colleges to support faculty as they undertake the challenging work of building ...


Models As Weapons: Review Of Weapons Of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality And Threatens Democracy By Cathy O’Neil (2016), Samuel L. Tunstall Jan 2018

Models As Weapons: Review Of Weapons Of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality And Threatens Democracy By Cathy O’Neil (2016), Samuel L. Tunstall

Numeracy

Cathy O’Neil. 2016. Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy (New York, NY: Crown) 272 pp. ISBN 978-0553418811.

Accessible to a wide readership, Cathy O’Neil’s Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy provides a lucid yet alarming account of the extensive reach of mathematical models in influencing all of our lives. With a particular eye towards social justice, O’Neil not only warns modelers to be cognizant of the effects of their work on real people—especially vulnerable groups who have less power to fight back—but ...


Why I Believe People Need Painting By Numbers, Jason Makansi Jan 2018

Why I Believe People Need Painting By Numbers, Jason Makansi

Numeracy

Jason Makansi.2016. Painting By Numbers: How to Sharpen Your BS Detector and Smoke Out the Experts (Tucson AZ: Layla Dog Press). 196 pp. ISBN 978-0998425900.

This piece briefly introduces my Painting By Numbers, which aims to take the core messages of the QL/QR community from academic and professional circles to the rest of the citizenry. I describe the book in the context of the critical need for the most basic numeracy tools to help consumers of news, information, and analysis—delivered through traditional and contemporary social media outlets—determine where a reported numerical result lies on the scale ...


Learning To Think Slower: Review Of Thinking, Fast And Slow By Daniel Kahneman (2011), Samuel L. Tunstall, Patrick N. Beymer Jul 2017

Learning To Think Slower: Review Of Thinking, Fast And Slow By Daniel Kahneman (2011), Samuel L. Tunstall, Patrick N. Beymer

Numeracy

Daniel Kahneman. Thinking, Fast and Slow (New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux) 499 pp. ISBN 978-0374275631.

As an expansive review of Kahneman and others' work over the past half-century in understanding human decision-making, Thinking, Fast and Slow provides Numeracy readers much to consider for both pedagogy and research. In this review, we outline Kahneman's core argument—that humans use both rash (emotional) System 1 thinking and slow (logical) System 2 thinking—then discuss how such systems might be addressed in a quantitative literacy classroom.


Figures And First Years: An Analysis Of Calculus Students' Use Of Figures In Technical Reports, Nathan J. Antonacci, Michael Rogers, Thomas J. Pfaff, Jason G. Hamilton Jul 2017

Figures And First Years: An Analysis Of Calculus Students' Use Of Figures In Technical Reports, Nathan J. Antonacci, Michael Rogers, Thomas J. Pfaff, Jason G. Hamilton

Numeracy

This three-year study focused on first-year Calculus I students and their abilities to incorporate figures in technical reports. In each year, these calculus students wrote a technical report as part of the Polar Bear Module, an educational unit developed for use in partner courses in biology, computer science, mathematics, and physics as part of the Multidisciplinary Sustainability Education (MSE) project at Ithaca College. In the first year of the project, students received basic technical report guidelines. In year two, the report guidelines changed to include explicit language on how to incorporate figures. In year three, a grading rubric was added ...


Using Visual Analogies To Teach Introductory Statistical Concepts, Jessica S. Ancker, Melissa D. Begg Jul 2017

Using Visual Analogies To Teach Introductory Statistical Concepts, Jessica S. Ancker, Melissa D. Begg

Numeracy

Introductory statistical concepts are some of the most challenging to convey in quantitative literacy courses. Analogies supplemented by visual illustrations can be highly effective teaching tools. This literature review shows that to exploit the power of analogies, teachers must select analogies familiar to the audience, explicitly link the analog with the target concept, and avert misconceptions by explaining where the analogy fails. We provide guidance for instructors and a series of visual analogies for use in teaching medical and health statistics.


A Quantitative Reasoning Approach To Algebra Using Inquiry-Based Learning, Victor I. Piercey Jul 2017

A Quantitative Reasoning Approach To Algebra Using Inquiry-Based Learning, Victor I. Piercey

Numeracy

In this paper, I share a hybrid quantitative reasoning/algebra two-course sequence that challenges the common assumption that quantitative literacy and reasoning are less rigorous mathematics alternatives to algebra and illustrates that a quantitative reasoning framework can be used to teach traditional algebra. The presentation is made in two parts. In the first part, which is somewhat philosophical and theoretical, I explain my personal perspective of what I mean by “algebra” and “doing algebra.” I contend that algebra is a form of communication whose value is precision, which allows us to perform algebraic manipulations in the form of simplification and ...


Contextualizing Developmental Math Content Into Introduction To Sociology In Community Colleges, Stuart Parker, Amy E. Traver, Jonathan Cornick Jun 2017

Contextualizing Developmental Math Content Into Introduction To Sociology In Community Colleges, Stuart Parker, Amy E. Traver, Jonathan Cornick

Publications and Research

Across community colleges in the United States, most students place into a developmental math course that they never pass. This can leave them without the math skills necessary to make informed decisions in major areas of social life and the college credential required for participation in growing sectors of our economy. One strategy for improving community college students’ pass rate in developmental math courses is the contextualization of developmental math content into the fabric of other courses. This article reviews an effort to contextualize developmental math content (i.e., elementary algebra) into Introduction to Sociology at Kingsborough Community College and ...


Quantitative Literacy For The Future Flourishing Of Our Students: A Guiding Aim For Mathematics Education, Samuel L. Tunstall Jan 2017

Quantitative Literacy For The Future Flourishing Of Our Students: A Guiding Aim For Mathematics Education, Samuel L. Tunstall

Numeracy

In this essay, I examine the extent to which mathematics education and education for quantitative literacy support students’ present and future flourishing, a concept that entails realizing objective goods in a life lived from the inside. This perspective requires disentangling philosophical assumptions about the aims of mathematics education, which—in the context of flourishing—I take to be a hybrid of those that have informed curricular discussions over the past two centuries. In the process, I problematize ("make strange") many of the common reasons given for students learning mathematics, including: learning it for one’s career, for one’s logical ...


A Twenty-Year Look At “Computational Geology,” An Evolving, In-Discipline Course In Quantitative Literacy At The University Of South Florida, Victor J. Ricchezza, H. L. Vacher Jan 2017

A Twenty-Year Look At “Computational Geology,” An Evolving, In-Discipline Course In Quantitative Literacy At The University Of South Florida, Victor J. Ricchezza, H. L. Vacher

Numeracy

Since 1996, the Geology (GLY) program at the USF has offered “Computational Geology” as part of its commitment to prepare undergraduate majors for the quantitative aspects of their field. The course focuses on geological-mathematical problem solving. Over its twenty years, the course has evolved from a GATC (geometry-algebra-trigonometry-calculus) in-discipline capstone to a quantitative literacy (QL) course taught within a natural science major. With the formation of the new School of Geosciences in 2013, the merging departments re-examined their various curricular programs. An online survey of the Geology Alumni Society found that “express quantitative evidence in support of an argument” was ...


The Quantitative Reasoning For College Science (Quarcs) Assessment 2: Demographic, Academic And Attitudinal Variables As Predictors Of Quantitative Ability, Katherine Follette, Sanlyn Buxner, Erin Dokter, Donald Mccarthy, Beau Vezino, Laci Brock, Edward Prather Jan 2017

The Quantitative Reasoning For College Science (Quarcs) Assessment 2: Demographic, Academic And Attitudinal Variables As Predictors Of Quantitative Ability, Katherine Follette, Sanlyn Buxner, Erin Dokter, Donald Mccarthy, Beau Vezino, Laci Brock, Edward Prather

Numeracy

In this article, we explore the ability of demographic and attitudinal variables to predict student scores on the Quantitative Reasoning for College Science (QuaRCS) Assessment. Variables measured by the assessment include: students' academic choices and plans, attitudes and perceptions regarding mathematics, self-reported effort level, and basic demographics such as age, race/ethnicity, gender and disability status. As in previously published numeracy studies, we find significant score deviations according to gender, race/ethnicity, and disability status; however, the effect size of these correlations pale in comparison to the effect size of affective/attitudinal variables on QuaRCS score. A large number of ...


On A Desert Island With Unit Sticks, Continued Fractions And Lagrange, Victor J. Ricchezza, H. L. Vacher Jul 2016

On A Desert Island With Unit Sticks, Continued Fractions And Lagrange, Victor J. Ricchezza, H. L. Vacher

Numeracy

GLY 4866, Computational Geology, provides an opportunity, welcomed by our faculty, to teach quantitative literacy to geology majors at USF. The course continues to evolve although the second author has been teaching it for some 20 years. This paper describes our experiences with a new lab activity that we are developing on the core issue of measurement and units. The activity is inspired by a passage in the 2008 publication of lectures that Joseph Louis Lagrange delivered at the Ecole Normale in 1795. The activity envisions that young scientists are faced with the need to determine the dimensions of a ...


Quantitative Literacy At Michigan State University, 3: Designing General Education Mathematics Courses, Samuel L. Tunstall, Vincent Melfi, Jeffrey Craig, Richard Edwards, Andrew Krause, Bronlyn Wassink, Victor Piercey Jul 2016

Quantitative Literacy At Michigan State University, 3: Designing General Education Mathematics Courses, Samuel L. Tunstall, Vincent Melfi, Jeffrey Craig, Richard Edwards, Andrew Krause, Bronlyn Wassink, Victor Piercey

Numeracy

In this paper, we describe the process at Michigan State University whereby we have created two courses, Math 101 and 102, designed to foster numeracy and alleviate mathematics anxiety. The courses--which are not sequential--provide a means of satisfying the University's general education requirement without taking college algebra or calculus, among other options. They are context-driven and broken into modules such as "The World and Its People" and "Health and Risk." They have been highly successful thus far, with students providing positive feedback on their interest in the material and the utility they see of it in their daily lives ...


Words Matter: Discourse And Numeracy, Samuel L. Tunstall Jul 2016

Words Matter: Discourse And Numeracy, Samuel L. Tunstall

Numeracy

Here I discuss elements of critical discourse analysis (CDA) and their importance in relation to quantitative literacy (QL). Through an overview of theory, synthesis of research, and examples, I argue that the discursive nature of textbooks has a nontrivial impact on students' mathematical dispositions - an important component of QL. In particular, texts are a means of disseminating the culture of mathematics, one which has a tendency to paint mathematics as esoteric and male-dominated. Such a characterization has profound implications for the numeracy community, one of which is that we cannot assume that changes in curriculum are sufficient for effecting QL ...


Rethinking The Numerate Citizen: Quantitative Literacy And Public Issues, Ander W. Erickson Jul 2016

Rethinking The Numerate Citizen: Quantitative Literacy And Public Issues, Ander W. Erickson

Numeracy

Does a citizen need to possess quantitative literacy in order to make responsible decisions on behalf of the public good? If so, how much is enough? This paper presents an analysis of the quantitative claims made on behalf of ballot measures in order to better delineate the role of quantitative literacy for the citizen. I argue that this role is surprisingly limited due to the contextualized nature of quantitative claims that are encountered outside of a school setting. Instead, rational dependence, or the reasoned dependence on the knowledge of others, is proposed as an educational goal that can supplement quantitative ...


Review Of Case Studies For Quantitative Reasoning: A Casebook Of Media Articles By Bernard L. Madison, Stuart Boersma, Caren L. Diefenderfer, And Shannon W. Dingman, Samuel L. Tunstall Jul 2015

Review Of Case Studies For Quantitative Reasoning: A Casebook Of Media Articles By Bernard L. Madison, Stuart Boersma, Caren L. Diefenderfer, And Shannon W. Dingman, Samuel L. Tunstall

Numeracy

Bernard L. Madison, Stuart Boersma, Caren L. Diefenderfer, and Shannon W. Dingman. Case Studies for Quantitative Reasoning: A Casebook of Media Articles (Pearson Learning Solutions, 2012). 215 pp. ISBN 9781256512875.

Concisely organized and timely to a tee, Case Studies for Quantitative Reasoning contains a wealth of articles and exercises to promote higher-order thinking in any course where quantitative literacy is a goal. The text is a self-contained package complete with just enough mathematics to ensure that all students can join in. It contains a total of twenty-four case studies, each of which highlights how numbers appear in day-to-day media. The ...


Promoting Numeracy In An Online College Algebra Course Through Projects And Discussions, Samuel L. Tunstall, Michael J. Bossé Jul 2015

Promoting Numeracy In An Online College Algebra Course Through Projects And Discussions, Samuel L. Tunstall, Michael J. Bossé

Numeracy

This research stems from efforts to infuse quantitative literacy (QL) in an online version of college algebra. College algebra fulfills a QL requirement at many universities, and it is a terminal course for most who take it. In light of the course’s traditional content and teaching methods, students often leave with little gained in QL. An online platform provides a unique means of engaging students in quantitative discussions and research, yet little research exists on online courses in the context of QL. The course studied included weekly news discussions as well as “messy” projects requiring data analysis. Students in ...


Implementing Quantitative Literacy At Southwestern Community College, North Carolina, Vicki Todd, John Wagaman Jul 2015

Implementing Quantitative Literacy At Southwestern Community College, North Carolina, Vicki Todd, John Wagaman

Numeracy

There is a time when articulation agreements between universities and community colleges come to an end. When this happened in North Carolina, there was great hope that not only would the mathematics classes that were offered in the North Carolina Community College System be revamped with respect to overlapping content, but also that mathematics classes would be developed that have a clear connection between what is seen in the world and what is taught in the classroom especially for non-STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics-related studies) students. This paper describes how Southwestern Community College (SCC) implemented a quantitative literacy class ...


The Quantitative Reasoning For College Science (Quarcs) Assessment, 1: Development And Validation, Katherine B. Follette, Donald W. Mccarthy, Erin Dokter, Sanlyn Buxner, Edward Prather Jul 2015

The Quantitative Reasoning For College Science (Quarcs) Assessment, 1: Development And Validation, Katherine B. Follette, Donald W. Mccarthy, Erin Dokter, Sanlyn Buxner, Edward Prather

Numeracy

Science is an inherently quantitative endeavor, and general education science courses are taken by a majority of college students. As such, they are a powerful venue for advancing students’ skills and attitudes toward mathematics. This article reports on the development and validation of the Quantitative Reasoning for College Science (QuaRCS) Assessment, a numeracy assessment instrument designed for college-level general education science students. It has been administered to more than four thousand students over eight semesters of refinement. We show that the QuaRCS is able to distinguish varying levels of quantitative literacy and present performance statistics for both individual items and ...


Exploring Phytoplankton Population Growth To Enhance Quantitative Literacy: Putting Vision & Change Into Action, Erin Baumgartner, Lindsay Biga, Karen Bledsoe, James Dawson, Julie Grammer, Ava R. Howard, Jeffrey Snyder Apr 2015

Exploring Phytoplankton Population Growth To Enhance Quantitative Literacy: Putting Vision & Change Into Action, Erin Baumgartner, Lindsay Biga, Karen Bledsoe, James Dawson, Julie Grammer, Ava R. Howard, Jeffrey Snyder

Faculty Research Publications (All Departments)

Quantitative literacy is essential to biological literacy (and is one of the core concepts in Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education: A Call to Action; AAAS 2009). Building quantitative literacy is a challenging endeavor for biology instructors. Integrating mathematical skills into biological investigations can help build quantitative literacy. In our plankton population laboratory sequence, students test hypotheses about the influence of abiotic factors on phytoplankton populations by sampling experimental and control flasks over multiple weeks. Students track and predict changes in planktonic populations by incorporating weekly sample estimates into population growth equations. We have refined the laboratory protocols on ...


Parts Of The Whole: Moderating Competition In The World Of Ideas, Dorothy Wallace Jan 2015

Parts Of The Whole: Moderating Competition In The World Of Ideas, Dorothy Wallace

Numeracy

In both biological and mathematical dynamical systems, competition may be moderated by the presence of a top predator of both competing species. Applying this principle in memetics sheds light on why some strategies are more likely than others to promote quantitative literacy in various kinds of institutions.


Quantitative Literacy And The Common Core State Standards In Mathematics, Bernard L. Madison Jan 2015

Quantitative Literacy And The Common Core State Standards In Mathematics, Bernard L. Madison

Numeracy

How supportive of quantitative literacy (QL) are the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics (CCSSM)? The answer is tentative and conditional. There are some QL-supportive features including a strong probability and statistics strand in grade 6 through high school; a measurements and data strand in K-5; ratio and proportional reasoning standards in grades 6 and 7; and a comprehensive and coherent approach to algebraic reasoning and logical argument. However, the standards are weak in supporting reasoning and interpretation, and there are indications that the applications in CCSSM – mostly unspecified – will not include many QL contextual situations. Early indicators of assessment ...


Assessing Numeracy In The Upper Elementary And Middle School Years, Carol Ann Gittens Jan 2015

Assessing Numeracy In The Upper Elementary And Middle School Years, Carol Ann Gittens

Numeracy

Numeracy is the ability or tendency to reason critically about quantitative information. The preponderance of published research on numeracy examines this construct among either pre-K or early elementary samples, students with developmental challenges, or is focused on post-secondary and adult cohorts. The numeracy skills of upper-elementary and middle school students is less documented and understood, most notably because of the lack of valid instruments that are developmentally appropriate for the age range. A numeracy scale for use among upper-elementary and middle school students is introduced in this paper. Scale validation was performed using a gender-balanced, racially / ethnically diverse sample of ...