QLAC Activities

QLAC Activities

The QLAC has met intermittently since its creation in the Spring 2015 semester.

The Survey
On June 23, 2015, a Quantitative Literacy survey (see attached) was sent to chairs of all university departments/programs. The survey aimed to identify if and how Quantitative Literacy is addressed in department/program course offerings (exclusive of Gen Ed and major requirements in mathematics) and how Quantitative Literacy can be further introduced into departmental/program curricula. 

Responses to the survey
Twenty-five departments responded to the survey.

Need for Professional Development
A clear understanding of Quantitative Literacy and its role in the twenty-first-century was not initially matched by robust resources to support institutions seeking to develop curricula to meet student needs. In fact, at the end of 2001, the National Certification of Educational Diagnosticians, the Mathematical Association of America, and the Mathematical Science Education Board hosted a forum on Quantitative Literacy that arrived at the following stark finding:

  • Most higher education students graduate without sufficient Quantitative Literacy training;
  • Faculty in all disciplines needed professional development support to enhance Quantitative Literacy in their courses;
  • Quantitative literacy was not part of assessment activity;
  • Education policy leaders were insufficiently aware of the increasing need for Quantitative Literacy.

Need for collaboration between every department in the university
Quantitative Literacy is not something which can be mastered in a single course. The ability to use quantitative methods to solve real-world problems requires extensive practice. This quantitative methods need to be integrated to the curriculum, not only in STEM, but also in Social Sciences and, in appropriate case, in humanities.  PKAL has published a serious of “what works” documents. The documents emphasize several recurring themes. While mathematics and other STEM departments play important role in promulgating the Quantitative Literacy movement, true success demands a collaborative approach that involves beyond STEM. The contextual nature of Quantitative Literacy endeavor simply cannot be learned in the intentionally abstract mathematics environment. Moreover the mastery of quantitative skills by itself does not prepare students for the world they enter. They need to be given opportunity to practice the communication and analysis of Quantitative Literacy argument. Successful implementation of Quantitative Literacy will be achieved when it is ingrained in students as a habit of mind (Hughes-Hallett 2003), where they will pull out quantitative tools to solve problems without being prompted by a professor, or even the topic of a course. It is intuitive that habit of mind cannot be taught in a single course. Students must see that Quantitative Literacy skill seen in one part of the curriculum are applicable to other subjects, and the best way to make this explicit to students is to present them with Quantitative Literacy problems in many different areas of the curriculum (Hughes-Hallett 2003).

Goals of a QLAC Program
Upon completion of a designated number of classes that incorporate instruction in Quantitative Literacy skills, students will

  • Understand basic Quantitative Literacy skills;
  • Apply Quantitative Literacy skills to discipline specific and every day life situations;
  • Communicate quantitative data using real world problems.

Proposal for a Pilot Program and Extension of the Pilot Program
The QLAC committee first proposes the creation of a pilot program to integrate Quantitative Literacy into existing courses. After implementation and assessment of the pilot, the QLAC proposes integration of QL activities in all university departments.