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## Quantitative Reasoning in Religion and Other Disciplines

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**Quantitative Reasoning in Religion and Other Disciplines**Nathan D. Grawe Carleton College Serc.carleton.edu/quirk With support from the US Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education, the National Science Foundation, and the WM Keck Foundation.**Overview**What is QR? (20 minutes) How does QR show up in student work? (20 minutes) Assignment design principles (10 minutes) Assignment ideas(20 minutes) Break (5 minutes) (Assignment creation workshop)**What is QR?**The habit of mind to consider the power and limitations of quantitative evidence in the evaluation, construction, and communication of arguments in public, professional, and personal life.**What is QR?**Four facets of QR: 1) QR requires a basic skill set**What is QR?**Four facets of QR: 1) QR requires a basic skill set 2) QR demands application in context "The test of numeracy, as of any literacy, is whether a person naturally uses appropriate skills in many different contexts" -National Council on Education and the Disciplines (2001)**What is QR?**Four facets of QR: 1) QR requires a basic skill set 2) QR demands application in context 3) QR involves argument**What is QR?**Four facets of QR: 1) QR requires a basic skill set 2) QR demands application in context 3) QR involves argument “Deploying numbers skillfully is as important to communication as deploying verbs.” -Max Frankel, The New York Times Magazine**What is QR?**Four facets of QR: 1) QR requires a basic skill set 2) QR demands application in context 3) QR involves argument “Numbers [are] the principal language of public argument.” -BBC Program More or Less**What is QR?**Four facets of QR: 1) QR requires a basic skill set 2) QR demands application in context 3) QR involves argument 4) QR is a habit of mind “[QR] is not a discipline but a way of thinking….” -Lynn Steen Achieving Quantitative Literacy**What is QR?**“…sophisticated reasoning with elementary mathematics more than elementary reasoning with sophisticated mathematics.” -Lynn Steen Achieving Quantitative Literacy**What’s the research design (correllational or**experimental)? Fact: Those who work with computers earn 15-20% more than others. “Thus, computer training may, at least in the short run, be a profitable investment for public and private job training programs.”**What’s the research design (correllational or**experimental)? Other interesting returns: Calculator = 12.8% Telephone = 11.4% Pencil/Pen = 11.2% Work while sitting = 10.1%**Two Types of QR Use in Student Papers**Central Use: Use of numbers to address a central question, issue, or theme Peripheral Use: Use of numbers to provide useful detail, enrich descriptions, present background, or establish frames of reference**Two Types of QR Use in Student Papers**The importance of the periphery: “Even for works that are not inherently quantitative, one or two numeric facts can help convey the importance or context of your topic.” -Jane Miller The Chicago Guide to Writing About Numbers**Examples from Student Writing**Example of QR-irrelevant paper: “The Maiden who Needs No Saving”—an analysis of Keat’s treatment of helplessness and power in “La Belle Dame Sans Merci”**Examples from Student Writing**Thesis: A synthesis of 3 alternative views on poverty provides a more complete picture than any 1 perspective alone.**Examples from Student Writing**Excerpt #3 $192 billion $60 billion 1/65th of GNP 1/230th of GNP**Examples from Student Writing**Title: “Les Banlieues d’Islam” Thesis: French Muslims struggle to find an acceptable identity. A new “Euro-Islam” may address these complex political and social challenges.**Why the sciences can’t—and shouldn’t!—address QR**alone "The interdisciplinary and contextual nature of [QR] cries out for a cross cutting approach." -Lynn Steen Achieving Quantitative Literacy**Why the sciences can’t—and shouldn’t!—address QR**alone “If [QR] remains the responsibility solely of mathematics departments—especially if it is caged into a single course such as ‘Math for Liberal Arts’—students will continue to see [QR] as something that happens only in the mathematics classroom.” -Lynn Steen Achieving Quantitative Literacy**Why the sciences can’t—and shouldn’t!—address QR**alone “…numeracy is not something mastered in a single course….Thus quantitative material needs to permeate the curriculum, … so that students have opportunities to practice their skills and see how useful they can be in understanding a wide range of problems.” -Derek Bok (2006) “…authentic and enduring learning…can rarely succeed one course at a time.” -Lee Shulman (1997)**Why the sciences can’t—and shouldn’t!—address QR**alone Fraction of students who believe quantitative skills will be very important or essential to their lives: Natural and Social Sciences Arts, Literature, & Humanities No Yes No Yes**Implementing Curricular Change**• Rhetorical slant on QR engages faculty across curriculum QuIRK 18-month participation rate Overall: 65% Natural & Social Sciences: 75% Arts, Lit, & Humanities: 55%**Implementing Curricular Change**• Start by articulating course learning goals • Use texts that exemplify QR • Reverse engineer course, last assignment first, using prior assignments as scaffolds • Treat QR-in-writing as a process • Involve your reference librarians • The Statistical Abstract of the US**Implementing Curricular Change**Provide a TIP and… Task as Ill-structured Problem a RAFT Role Audience Format (Genre) Task**Implementing Curricular Change**Example 1: An Ill-Structured Physics Lab Example 2: English 109 Memo (estimation problem) Example 3: Intro to Latina/o Studies Paper Example 4: Exploring and Architectural Remodel**Implementing Curricular Change**Example 5: History Paper on India’s Colonial Census Example 6: Environmental History Paper Example 7: Development Economics Paper Example 8: Native-American Literature Analysis**Implementing Curricular Change**• Start by articulating course learning goals • Use texts that exemplify QR • Reverse engineer course, last assignment first, using prior assignments as scaffolds • Treat QR-in-writing as a process • Involve your reference librarians**What’s at Stake?**“…Now everyone can obtain and consider data about the risks of medication, voting patterns in a locality, projections for the federal budget surplus, and an almost endless array of other concerns…. If individuals lack the ability to think numerically they cannot fully participate in civic life, thereby bringing into question the very basis of government of, by, and for the people.” -Robert Orrill “Mathematics, Numeracy, and Democracy”**Assignment Creation Workshop**Agenda: • Read student papers and discuss (Where are we starting from?) (45 minutes) • Assignment/Course Module Brainstorming (30 minutes) • Share Assignment Ideas/Wrap-Up (15 minutes)**References**• Bok, Derek. 2006. Our Underachieving Colleges: A Candid Look at How Much Students Learn and Why They Should Be Learning More. Princeton University Press: Princeton, NJ. • Brakke, David F. 2003. "Addressing Societal and Workforce Needs," in Quantitative Literacy: Why Numeracy Matters for Schools and Colleges, Bernard L. Madison and Lynn Arthur Steen, eds. Princeton, NJ: National Council on Education and the Disciplines. • Cohen, I. Bernard. 2005. The Triumph of Numbers: How Counting Shaped Modern Life. W.W. Norton & Company: New York. • De Lange, Jan. 2001. "Mathematics for Literacy" in Mathematics and Democracy: The Case for Quantitative Literacy, Lynn Arthur Steen, ed. Princeton, NJ: National Council on Education and the Disciplines. • Frankel, Max. 1995. “Word and Image; Innumercy,” New York Times, March 5. • Gray, Steven. 2009. “Report Says 1 in 50 U.S. Kids Are Homeless,” Time, March 10. • Hughes-Hallett, Deborah J. 2001. "The Role of Mathematics Courses in the Development of Quantitative Literacy" in Mathematics and Democracy: The Case for Quantitative Literacy, Lynn Arthur Steen, ed. Princeton, NJ: National Council on Education and the Disciplines.**References (Cont.)**• Miller, Jane E. 2004. The Chicago Guide to Writing about Numbers. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. • More or Less, British Broadcasting Corporation radio program. Retrieved April 27, 2007, from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/more_or_less/1628489.stm. • National Council on Education and the Disciplines. 2001. Mathematics and Democracy: The Case for Quantitative Literacy. Washington DC: Mathematical Association of America. • New York Times. 2005. “Many Women at Elite Colleges Set Career Path to Motherhood,” September 20. • New York Times. 2007. “The Wealthiest Americans Ever,” July 15 (online graphic at http://www.nytimes.com/ref/business/20070715_GILDED_GRAPHIC.html). • Newsweek. 2005. “How to Beat the Big Energy Chill,” November 21. • Orrill, Robert. 2001. “Mathematics, Numeracy, and Democracy,” in Mathematics and Democracy: The Case for Quantitative Literacy, Lynn Arthur Steen, ed. Princeton, NJ: National Council on Education and the Disciplines. • Shafer, Jack. 2005. “Weasel Words Rip My Flesh! Spotting a Bogus Trend Story on Page One of Today’s New York Times,” Slate, September 20. • Shulman, Lee S., 1997. “Professing the Liberal Arts,” in Education and Democracy: Re-Imagining Liberal Learning in America, New York: The College Board. • Steen, Lynn Arthur. 2004. Achieving Quantitative Literacy: An Urgent Challenge for Higher Education. Washington, DC: Mathematical Association of America. • Wiggins, Grant. 2003. "'Get Real!': Assessing for Quantitative Literacy" in Quantitative Literacy: Why It Matters for Schools and Colleges. Bernard Madison and Lynn Arthur Steen, eds. Princeton, NJ: National Council on Education and the Disciplines.