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QuAC Resources: Resources & Links

QR at BSU

QR at BSU

In 2006, Bridgewater State University adopted its Core Curriculum, a program of required coursework designed to ensure that all BSU graduates can think critically, write clearly, think logically, reason quantitatively, and express themselves creatively.

The Core Curriculum contains a two-part requirement for quantitative coursework:

  • One course in Foundations of Mathematical Reasoning, completed within the first two years, and
  • One course addressing an Application of Quantitative Skills, completed at any time before graduation.

The QuAC program, in large part, grew out of a faculty project to clarify the Core's quantitative skills requirement and adopt common learning outcomes for its courses. This effort is ongoing, and a working draft of our rationale for the QR requirement and proposed new learning outcomes can be found below.

View Draft

ICPSR

ICPSR

ICPSR advances and expands social and behavioral research, acting as a global leader in data stewardship and providing rich data resources and responsive educational opportunities for present and future generations.

Resources

Articles, Books, and Other Resources

The following are resources that QuAC has found useful to share both on and off BSU's campus. There's a lot here; the starred resources () indicate some of the most widely-accepted "standard" resources in the field and would be ideal starting points.

Educational Resources

National Numeracy Network

The NNN is a professional organization dedicated to promoting issues of numeracy and quantitative reasoning in higher education.

Numeracy Infusion Course for Higher Education (NICHE)

NICHE is a project of CUNY's Quantitative Reasoning Alliance, and their website is a treasure trove of practical resources for understanding, teaching, and assessing for numeracy skills across the curriculum.

Advanced Mathematical Decision Making (Dana Center, University of Texas)

This beautifully-developed high-school QR course was adopted as an "alternate" fourth-year mathematics course by the Texas State Board of Education in January 2011.

Quantitative Reasoning, Inquiry, and Knowledge (QuIRK) (Carleton College)

Carleton's portfolio-based, cross-curricular QR program was one of the first and among the most successful of its kind. QuIRK has a wealth of resources on its website to support the development of quantitative coursework and assignments in higher education.

Guide to Writing with Statistics (Purdue University Online Writing Lab)

OWL's rich resource on integrating statistics with writing offers suggestions for "quick tips, writing descriptive statistics, writing inferential statistics, and using visuals with statistics."

Articles and other Publications

The Case for Quantitative Literacy

This first chapter of the MAA's Mathematics and Democracy makes a detailed and referenced case for why numeracy is a democratic imperative.

The High Price of Being a Gay Couple (New York Times, 10/3/2009)

The Times is better than most newspapers at sourcing its data, and the quantitative reasoning in this article is fairly sophisticated — though it raises many good questions.

Mistaken Data at the FlowingData blog

A variety of examples and discussion of misleading data and charts in recent popular media.

Bridgewater State University Factbooks (Updated each year)

Taken from the annual CIRP Freshman Survey, the Factbooks are assembled by the Office of Institutional Research to give a snapshot of BSU's students in a variety of academic, affective, and demographic domains.

Income Inequality in America (ThinkReality, 11/20/2012) and a Debate Critique (Learn Liberty, 3/8/2013)

The Shocking, Graphic Data That [...] Motivates the "Occupy" Movement (AlterNet, 10/23/2011)

New Inequality Data Likely to Boost "Occupy" Movement (IPS News, 10/26/2011)

The popular movement that began with "Occupy Wall Street" is increasingly driven by income- and wealth-distribution data such as this recent study from the Congressional Budget Office. However, in the political echo chamber, how can we distinguish between sound quantitative inference and misleading appeals to emotion?

BP Technical Briefing by CEO Kent Wells, 5/24/2010

This video briefing reports on the efforts by BP to recover spilled oil from the Gulf of Mexico during what was an ongoing crisis for both the environment and BP's public relations. Note Wells' preference for a cumulative distribution (total barrels collected, which of course is always increasing) over the capture rate (which had slowed down at the time of the briefing).

NPR's On the Media Program

On the Media frequently presents detailed pieces on data consumption and presentation in journalism. Their podcasts are also made available for download.

The Smarter You Are, The Stupider You Are (NPR Blog, 11/1/2013)

In this provocatively-titled blog post, the author argues that more numerate people are more likely to know how to color numbers to support their cognitive biases. It makes a forceful case that numeracy is about far more than computation; it's about reasoning and reflection.

Previously Featured on this Website

Motivated Numeracy and Enlightened Self-Government (Article retrieved 11/1/2013)

Mathematics — in the abstract — is invariant under changes in context. But life is highly context-specific, and according to a new study by Dan Kahan et al., personal biases and beliefs strongly affect how we present and interpret numbers.

Mother Jones' report (9/4/2013) focuses on how participants' political beliefs colored their interpretation of the same two-way contingency table when the numbers were given a politically charged meaning, compared to a more neutral meaning, and NPR's report (11/1/2013) focuses on the study's complementary finding: that more highly numerate individuals are more likely to bend their interpretation of numbers to suit their biases.
It's yet another reminder not to believe everything you read, even (especially!) when you're reading about numbers.

There's One Key Difference Between Kids Who Excel At Math and Those Who Don't (Quartz, 10/27/2013)

"I'm not a math person" is a common saying. But it's based on false assumptions about innate intelligence and is a dangerously self-defeating narrative, write Miles Kimball and Noah Smith at Quartz (10/27/2013). What separates the numerate from the innumerate, they write, is their mindset: believing intelligence is malleable, and being open to challenge and failure, makes all the difference — and may explain America's particular cultural challenge to numeracy.

The United States, Falling Behind (NY Times editorial, 10/23/2013, A26)

A 2013 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development study ranked the numeracy skills of U.S. adults 22nd out of 24 first-world countries surveyed. What does this mean for the future of the American economy? The New York Times editorial page writes that we're reaping what we've sown, and it should concern us all.