Quantitative Reasoning

Last updated: February 26, 2019 at 4:11 p.m.

Objectives

The quantitative reasoning requirement has been established to develop students' abilities to collect, summarize and analyze numerical data; to make abstract concepts operational; and to think critically about the accuracy and soundness of conclusions based on data or on mathematical models. Quantitative reasoning courses usually embed methodological training in their subject matter. These courses vary widely in the skills that are emphasized, but they usually include one or more of the following:

  • Learning to read, construct, interpret and evaluate tables, graphs and charts.
  • Developing quantitative measures of physical, behavioral or social phenomena.
  • Using mathematical models to express causal relationships and to explore the implications of changed assumptions or proposed solutions to problems in the physical or social world.
  • Collecting and organizing numerical data from archives, surveys, lab experiments or other sources.
  • Testing hypotheses using experimental or statistical controls.
  • Assessing the limitations of research, such as the reliability and validity of measures, adequacy of experimental design, sample size and quality and alternative hypotheses and interpretations.
  • Some courses satisfy the quantitative reasoning requirement only when they are taken with the corresponding lab.

Learning Goals

The quantitative reasoning requirement has been established to develop students' abilities to:

  1. Collect, summarize and analyze numerical data
  2. Apply statistical analysis
  3. Think critically about the accuracy and soundness of conclusions based on data or mathematical models

How to Fulfill the Requirement

All students will take one course that is designated to meet the quantitative reasoning (QR) requirement. Quantitative reasoning courses from various disciplines share a commitment to enabling students to understand, interpret, analyze and evaluate statistical and numerical data and other quantitative information. A list of QR courses is available in the Courses of Instruction.