The catalog says that one of the liberal arts abilities is quantitative reasoning, yet there is little in the curriculum to enhance that ability. I propose a new quantitative reasoning course to take the place of the Core 8 course. This course would be more tightly structured with real outcomes expected. Students completing the course should be able to read and critique the quantitative reasoning in the popular press and the business press. They should understand and be able to read graphs; understand what a rate of change is; understand some basic statistical concepts such as average, mean, standard deviation, and variance; and understand what a mathematical model is and its potential uses.
Examples of quantitative reasoning exercises might be to examine real life issues such as how to choose a retirement plan based on performance statistics, how to make a medical decision on a cancer treatment based on possible outcomes, or how to understand the benefits and risks of using a model to predict weather behavior.
A possible final approach to developing good quantitative skills could be the use of a quantitative portfolio, much like the writing portfolio.
Contact person: Robert Leggett
For a PDF of the proposal, click here.
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