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Numeracy

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Parts Of The Whole: Logical Categories Of Learning: Why Teaching Qr Is Hard, Dorothy Wallace Jul 2019

Parts Of The Whole: Logical Categories Of Learning: Why Teaching Qr Is Hard, Dorothy Wallace

Numeracy

This column introduces the reader to an essay by anthropologist Gregory Bateson on the nature of learning. In that essay, he stratifies the learning process into categories based on what aspect of the student’s understanding is required to change in order to accomplish a given learning task. A discussion of the first three categories is followed here by examples from quantitative reasoning tasks and a further example from the ongoing discussion in the community of what numeracy entails. Bateson’s classification of learning into “logical categories” sheds light on what the goals of numeracy ask of both student and ...


The Numbers We Need: Review Of Shifting Contexts, Stable Core: Advancing Quantitative Literacy In Higher Education, Edited By Luke Tunstall, Gizem Karaali, And Victor Piercey (2019), John Macinnes Jul 2019

The Numbers We Need: Review Of Shifting Contexts, Stable Core: Advancing Quantitative Literacy In Higher Education, Edited By Luke Tunstall, Gizem Karaali, And Victor Piercey (2019), John Macinnes

Numeracy

Luke Tunstall, Gizem Karaali, and Victor Piercey, eds. 2019. Shifting Contexts, Stable Core: Advancing Quantitative Literacy in Higher Education. Math Notes 88. (Mathematics Association of America, MAA Press). Print ISBN 978-0-88385-198-2. Electronic ISBN 978-1-61444-324-7.

Mine is a rather UK-centric view. The ability to understand numbers is increasingly vital for citizenship in a world where almost every argument, no matter how bogus, comes with numbers attached. Maths and stats, however, are too important to leave to the mathematicians and statisticians alone. There are as many varieties of application as there are disciplines and interests. Maths faculty are not there to be ...


Introducing Maa Notes #88: Shifting Contexts, Stable Core: Advancing Quantitative Literacy In Higher Education, Samuel L. Tunstall, Gizem Karaali, Victor Piercey Jul 2019

Introducing Maa Notes #88: Shifting Contexts, Stable Core: Advancing Quantitative Literacy In Higher Education, Samuel L. Tunstall, Gizem Karaali, Victor Piercey

Numeracy

Tunstall, Samuel, Gizem Karaali, and Victor Piercey, eds. 2019. Shifting Contexts, Stable Core: Advancing Quantitative Literacy in Higher Education (Washington, DC: Mathematical Association of America) 258 pp. ISBN 978-1614443247.

This brief essay introduces readers to Shifting Contexts, Stable Core: Advancing Quantitative Literacy in Higher Education, a new edited volume published by the Mathematical Association of America. We begin by describing the story behind the volume, and then outline its four major parts: "A Bird’s Eye View," "Curriculum for Quantitative Literacy," "Quantitative Literacy in an Institutional Context," and "Perspectives from the Quantitative Literacy Community." We end with an excerpt from ...


Alignment Between Learning Objectives And Assessments In A Quantitative Literacy Course, Younggon Bae, Samuel L. Tunstall, Kathryn S. Knowles, Rebecca L. Matz Jul 2019

Alignment Between Learning Objectives And Assessments In A Quantitative Literacy Course, Younggon Bae, Samuel L. Tunstall, Kathryn S. Knowles, Rebecca L. Matz

Numeracy

In this analysis, we examine how course assessment items were aligned with learning objectives in a quantitative literacy course at Michigan State University. The alignment analysis consisted of mapping assessment items to a list of operationalized learning objectives from the course. Our analysis shows how often the learning objectives are represented in assessment items, how often they are paired with other learning objectives, and how influential they are in contributing to a student’s course grade. In addition, through comparisons across four assessment types (e.g., exams and homework), we show how each learning objective was assessed differently within each ...


How Do We Change Statistical And Critical Thinking Attitudes In Young People?, Rhys C. Jones Jul 2019

How Do We Change Statistical And Critical Thinking Attitudes In Young People?, Rhys C. Jones

Numeracy

A quasi-experimental design was used to measure the impacts on student attitudes in statistics, mathematics and critical thinking (16-18 years of age) on a group of students who received a 21-week-long contextualised statistics course (called the Pilot Scheme in Social Analytics), in South Wales. This paper will discuss the development and delivery stages of the course as well as the student recruitment strategies employed. This paper will also discuss the changes in attitudes observed after the course had finished. Results suggest the course did lead to changes in the students’ attitudes becoming more positive with respect to statistics, mathematics, and ...


The Ultimatum Game: An Introduction To Quantitative Literacy In A Social Justice Context, Robert G. Root Jul 2019

The Ultimatum Game: An Introduction To Quantitative Literacy In A Social Justice Context, Robert G. Root

Numeracy

The Ultimatum Game is a two-person, multiple-strategy game widely used in the experimental social sciences to demonstrate the human propensity for costly punishment in response to inequitable treatment. The game serves to provide quantitative evidence for a diversity of fairness norms across cultures. The play of the game and its interpretation offer nuanced views of the nature and importance of quantitative literacy. Its use in a writing seminar connecting quantitative literacy and social justice is described.


Embedded Remediation Is Not Necessarily A Pathway For Equitable Access To Quantitative Literacy And College Algebra: Results From A Pilot Study, Rebecca L. Matz, Samuel L. Tunstall Jul 2019

Embedded Remediation Is Not Necessarily A Pathway For Equitable Access To Quantitative Literacy And College Algebra: Results From A Pilot Study, Rebecca L. Matz, Samuel L. Tunstall

Numeracy

Courses in developmental and introductory mathematics are changing. Because nearly all students need mathematics coursework to graduate from a postsecondary institution, yet institutions consistently struggle to ensure that students of all demographics succeed in credit-bearing mathematics courses, student success in such courses may be viewed as an issue of social justice. In particular, there is a need for institutions to provide pathways through college-level mathematics courses that meet the needs of students with a wide array of incoming mathematical knowledge and skills. In light of questions about pedagogy, pass rates, and effects on degree completion time, some institutions have moved ...


Roots And Seeds: Finding Our Place In The Social Practice Nexus That Is Quantitative Literacy, H. L. Vacher, Nathan D. Grawe Jul 2019

Roots And Seeds: Finding Our Place In The Social Practice Nexus That Is Quantitative Literacy, H. L. Vacher, Nathan D. Grawe

Numeracy

The purpose of our new Roots and Seeds feature is to provide an open-access space to archive first-hand accounts of QL activities that have preceded our journal (2008). The first two contributions in the collection appeared last issue: Linda Sons on the making of what has come to be known as the 1994 Sons Report (Mathematics Association of America), and Dorothy Wallace on her path to the Quantitative Literacy Design Team for Mathematics and Democracy (2001), and the questions that bedeviled them then – and us now. In this issue, we get Rick Gillman’s account of how the committee that ...


The Gini Index: A Lens For Analyzing Inequality In An Interdisciplinary College Classroom, Jared Warner, Vivian Lim Jan 2019

The Gini Index: A Lens For Analyzing Inequality In An Interdisciplinary College Classroom, Jared Warner, Vivian Lim

Numeracy

The Gini index is one of the most commonly used indicators of income inequality, and its computation and interpretation require a thorough understanding of various quantitative literacy concepts. In this article, we describe a unit for an interdisciplinary quantitative literacy course at a community college that treats concepts of ratio and proportion, percentages, and mathematical modeling through an exploration of income inequality and the Gini index. The broader theme of the interdisciplinary course is immigration, so the unit also invites students to explore connections between the Gini index and immigration. Employing in-class simulations, interactive online applets, and real-world data sets ...


Brave Spaces: Augmenting Interdisciplinary Stem Education By Using Quantitative Data Explorations To Engage Conversations On Equity And Social Justice, John R. Jungck, Jon Manon Jan 2019

Brave Spaces: Augmenting Interdisciplinary Stem Education By Using Quantitative Data Explorations To Engage Conversations On Equity And Social Justice, John R. Jungck, Jon Manon

Numeracy

In workshops and courses involving in-service teachers, participating teachers can engage in problem posing and exploration of difficult issues when they are asked to quantitatively model alternative scenarios, statistically analyze complex data, and visualize these data in multiple formats. Subsequent to these activities, discussions of sensitive issues, some even considered taboo in classrooms, can open up “brave spaces” in these teachers’ classrooms. Without coaching through elaborate facilitation strategies, the in-service teachers grappled openly with the nuances of such difficult issues and raised many alternatives involving quantitative reasoning as well as considering biological, cultural, economic, social, and political factors influencing social ...


Introducing Information Literacy To Mathematics Classrooms: A Cross-Case Analysis, Ander W. Erickson Jan 2019

Introducing Information Literacy To Mathematics Classrooms: A Cross-Case Analysis, Ander W. Erickson

Numeracy

This study employs a cross-case analysis to explore the demands and opportunities that arise when information problem-solving tasks are introduced into college mathematics classes. Mathematics teachers at three universities developed and introduced tasks that required students to seek out, evaluate, and synthesize quantitative claims from disparate information sources. The results focus on a comparison of how the teachers balanced content-specific instructional demands with the information literacy goals of the tasks that they created. Three tensions were identified through this analysis: the need to balance mathematical content with opportunities for students to engage in a realistic approximation of the information problem-solving ...


Investigating Levels Of Graphical Comprehension Using The Locus Assessments, Charlotte A. Bolch, Tim Jacobbe Jan 2019

Investigating Levels Of Graphical Comprehension Using The Locus Assessments, Charlotte A. Bolch, Tim Jacobbe

Numeracy

Statistical literacy refers to two interrelated components: people’s ability to interpret and critically evaluate statistical information, and their ability to discuss or communicate their reactions to statistical information. The ability to read and interpret graphical displays is part of statistical literacy because much of the statistical information people encounter in their everyday lives are graphical displays or tables of data. The purpose of this study was to investigate college-level students’ graphical comprehension. Students’ graphical comprehension was assessed using items from the Levels of Conceptual Understanding in Statistics (LOCUS) assessments. Much can be learned about students’ graphical comprehension based on ...


On "Icky" Data, The Political Classroom, And Towards Equity And Social Justice In Mathematics Education: A Conversation With Tonya Bartell, Samuel L. Tunstall, Oyemolade Osibodu, Tonya Gau Bartell Jan 2019

On "Icky" Data, The Political Classroom, And Towards Equity And Social Justice In Mathematics Education: A Conversation With Tonya Bartell, Samuel L. Tunstall, Oyemolade Osibodu, Tonya Gau Bartell

Numeracy

Tonya G. Bartell, ed. 2018. Towards Equity and Social Justice in Mathematics Education (Switzerland: Springer International Publishing) 341 pp. ISBN 978-3319929064.

This brief interview with Tonya Bartell introduces Towards Equity and Social Justice in Mathematics Education to the Numeracy audience. The interviewers also discuss with Tonya connections between quantitative literacy and mathematics for social justice, particularly in the context of US K-12 schooling. Tonya shares her perspective on topics ranging from the placement of quantitative literacy in K-12 mathematics education and how one might get started in incorporating a social justice lens into their teaching to paradigms for research ...


Review Of Towards Equity And Justice In Mathematics Education, Edited By Tonya Gau Bartell, Emily Lardner Jan 2019

Review Of Towards Equity And Justice In Mathematics Education, Edited By Tonya Gau Bartell, Emily Lardner

Numeracy

Tonya Grau Bartell, editor. 2018.Toward Equity and Social Justice in Mathematics Education. (Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing). 341 pp. ISBN 978-3-319-92906-4 (also available as an e-book).

Toward Equity and Social Justice in Mathematics Education is a welcome addition to ongoing conversations about what mathematics should be taught and how it should be taught at both the college and pre-college level. Although the primary audience for the volume will be math educators and researchers, readers of this journal will discover intersecting interests, concerns, and strategies.


An Uncommon Textbook: Review Of Common Sense Mathematics By Ethan Bolker And Maura Mast, Bernard Madison Jan 2019

An Uncommon Textbook: Review Of Common Sense Mathematics By Ethan Bolker And Maura Mast, Bernard Madison

Numeracy

Ethan D. Bolker and Maura B. Mast. 2016. Common Sense Mathematics.(Washington DC.: Mathematics Association of America) ISBN-13: 978-1-93951-210-9.

Common Sense Mathematics is an integrative quantitative reasoning (QR) textbook that is built around scores of exercises derived from authentic circumstances from public media and other public sources. The exercises elicit responses from students requiring extensive communication and analyses and distinguish the book from ones typically encountered in a mathematics or science course. Responses to exercises often require one-half page or more of writing and can occupy considerable class time in discussion. The book has material for a one- or two-semester ...


The Second Decade Of Numeracy: Entering The Seas Of Literacy, H. L. Vacher Jan 2019

The Second Decade Of Numeracy: Entering The Seas Of Literacy, H. L. Vacher

Numeracy

This multipurpose editorial explores and tries to count the many types of literacy that are referred to by name in Wikipedia and Numeracy. Wikipedia’s Category:Literacy page identifies 44 kinds of literacy that are the subject of articles, ranging from numeracy and graphicacy to braille literacy and diaspora literacy. In addition, searching Google finds more than 30 adjective-literacy or noun-literacy collocations, including quantitative literacy, adult literacy, and document literacy, that do not have Wikipedia pages of their own but are mentioned on other Wikipedia pages. The sum puts this modest literacy count in line with the more than 70 ...


Numeracy And Social Justice: A Wide, Deep, And Longstanding Intersection, Kira Hamman, Victor Piercey, Samuel L. Tunstall Jan 2019

Numeracy And Social Justice: A Wide, Deep, And Longstanding Intersection, Kira Hamman, Victor Piercey, Samuel L. Tunstall

Numeracy

We discuss the connection between the numeracy and social justice movements both in historical context and in its modern incarnation. The intersection between numeracy and social justice encompasses a wide variety of disciplines and quantitative topics, but within that variety there are important commonalities. We examine the importance of sound quantitative measures for understanding social issues and the necessity of interdisciplinary collaboration in this work. Particular reference is made to the papers in the first part of the Numeracy special collection on social justice, which appear in this issue.


Calculus Of The Impossible: Review Of The Improbability Principle (2014) By David Hand And The Logic Of Miracles (2018) By Lásló Mérő, Samuel L. Tunstall Jul 2018

Calculus Of The Impossible: Review Of The Improbability Principle (2014) By David Hand And The Logic Of Miracles (2018) By Lásló Mérő, Samuel L. Tunstall

Numeracy

David J. Hand. 2014. The Improbability Principle: Why Coincidences, Miracles, and Rare Events Happen Every Day (New York, NY: Scientific American/Farrar, Straus and Giroux) 288 pp. ISBN: 978-0374175344.

Lásló Mérő. 2018. The Logic of Miracles: Making Sense of Rare, Really Rare, and Impossibly Rare Events (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press) 288 pp. ISBN: 978-0300224153.

David Hand and Lásló Mérő both grapple with the occurrence of seemingly impossible events in these two popular science books. In this comparative review, I describe the two books, and explain why I prefer Hand's treatment of the impossible.


The Connection Between Financial Literacy And Numeracy: A Case Study From India, J.D Jayaraman, Saigeetha Jambunathan, Kenneth Counselman Jul 2018

The Connection Between Financial Literacy And Numeracy: A Case Study From India, J.D Jayaraman, Saigeetha Jambunathan, Kenneth Counselman

Numeracy

Making financial decisions involves mathematical calculations, both simple and complex. It is a well-documented fact that financial literacy levels among young people all over the world are quite low and that these low levels contribute to various undesirable outcomes with respect to personal financial well-being and the economy as a whole. This study explores the relationship between financial literacy and numeracy by measuring and modeling the relationship between financial literacy and numeracy levels among high school students (N = 586) in India. The results show a strong relationship between numeracy and financial literacy skills. Low numeracy is associated with a 4 ...


Six Propositions Of A Social Theory Of Numeracy: Interpreting An Influential Theory Of Literacy, Jeffrey Craig, Lynette Guzmán Jul 2018

Six Propositions Of A Social Theory Of Numeracy: Interpreting An Influential Theory Of Literacy, Jeffrey Craig, Lynette Guzmán

Numeracy

We share our experiences comprehending social theory as it applies to numeracy scholarship. We build on existing arguments that social theory—explicitly acknowledging the presence and influence of histories, power, and purposes—offers something important to scholars who study and discuss numeracy. In this article, we translate the six propositions of one particular social theory of literacy into propositions about numeracy, then we explore the meaning of each proposition, its connections to existing scholarship, and its implications. This article emerges from two literature reviews: one on social theories (especially their application to and development in literacy) and one on numeracy ...


Quantitative Literacy: Now More Than Ever, Gail O. Mellow Jul 2018

Quantitative Literacy: Now More Than Ever, Gail O. Mellow

Numeracy

This editorial highlights the eloquent words of Drs. Bernard Madison and Lynn Arthur Steen who, in the inaugural issue of Numeracy, note that quantitative literacy (QL) provides “tools for survival” in a highly competitive world. I discuss how QL is desperately needed at a precarious time for our nation’s democracy and how at LaGuardia Community College, and community colleges across the nation, important and creative work is being undertaken to build students’ math skills. The pivotal role of faculty is discussed and a call is made for colleges to support faculty as they undertake the challenging work of building ...


Parts Of The Whole: Hands On Statistics, Dorothy Wallace Jan 2018

Parts Of The Whole: Hands On Statistics, Dorothy Wallace

Numeracy

In this column we describe a hands-on data collection lab for an introductory statistics course. The exercise elicits issues of normality, sampling, and sample mean comparisons. Based on volcanology models of tephra dispersion, this lab leads students to question the accuracy of some assumptions made in the model, particularly regarding the normality of the dispersal of tephra of identical size in a given atmospheric layer.


Review Of Painting By Numbers: How To Sharpen Your Bs Detector And Smoke Out The "Experts" By Jason Makansi, Denis Voytenko Jan 2018

Review Of Painting By Numbers: How To Sharpen Your Bs Detector And Smoke Out The "Experts" By Jason Makansi, Denis Voytenko

Numeracy

Makansi, Jason. 2016. Painting By Numbers: How to Sharpen Your BS Detector and Smoke Out the "Experts". Tucson, AZ: Layla Dog Press. 196 pp. ISBN 978-0-9984259-0-0.

Jason Makansi’s book, Painting By Numbers: How to Sharpen Your BS Detector and Smoke out the "experts," aims to get people to start thinking more about the errors in models and data presented to them on a daily basis. The book is written in a friendly and accessible way without excessive jargon. Throughout the book, Makansi provides the reader with twelve commandments to follow to be able to evaluate questionable claims along with ...


Models As Weapons: Review Of Weapons Of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality And Threatens Democracy By Cathy O’Neil (2016), Samuel L. Tunstall Jan 2018

Models As Weapons: Review Of Weapons Of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality And Threatens Democracy By Cathy O’Neil (2016), Samuel L. Tunstall

Numeracy

Cathy O’Neil. 2016. Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy (New York, NY: Crown) 272 pp. ISBN 978-0553418811.

Accessible to a wide readership, Cathy O’Neil’s Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy provides a lucid yet alarming account of the extensive reach of mathematical models in influencing all of our lives. With a particular eye towards social justice, O’Neil not only warns modelers to be cognizant of the effects of their work on real people—especially vulnerable groups who have less power to fight back—but ...


Why I Believe People Need Painting By Numbers, Jason Makansi Jan 2018

Why I Believe People Need Painting By Numbers, Jason Makansi

Numeracy

Jason Makansi.2016. Painting By Numbers: How to Sharpen Your BS Detector and Smoke Out the Experts (Tucson AZ: Layla Dog Press). 196 pp. ISBN 978-0998425900.

This piece briefly introduces my Painting By Numbers, which aims to take the core messages of the QL/QR community from academic and professional circles to the rest of the citizenry. I describe the book in the context of the critical need for the most basic numeracy tools to help consumers of news, information, and analysis—delivered through traditional and contemporary social media outlets—determine where a reported numerical result lies on the scale ...


Quantitative Map Literacy: A Cross Between Map Literacy And Quantitative Literacy, Ming Xie, H. L. Vacher, Steven Reader, Elizabeth Walton Jan 2018

Quantitative Map Literacy: A Cross Between Map Literacy And Quantitative Literacy, Ming Xie, H. L. Vacher, Steven Reader, Elizabeth Walton

Numeracy

We define quantitative map literacy (QML), a cross between map literacy and quantitative literacy (QL), as the concepts and skills required to accurately read, use, interpret, and understand the quantitative information embedded in a geospatial representation of data on a geographic background. Long used as tools in technical geographic fields, maps are now a common vehicle for communicating quantitative information to the public. As such, QML has potential to stand alongside health numeracy and financial literacy as an identifiable subdomain of transdisciplinary QL.

What concepts and skills are crucial for QML? The obvious answer is, “It depends on the type ...


Increasing Statistical Literacy By Exploiting Lexical Ambiguity Of Technical Terms, Jennifer J. Kaplan, Neal Rogness Jan 2018

Increasing Statistical Literacy By Exploiting Lexical Ambiguity Of Technical Terms, Jennifer J. Kaplan, Neal Rogness

Numeracy

Instructional inattention to language poses a barrier for students in entry-level science courses, in part because students may perceive a subject as difficult solely based on the lack of understanding of the vocabulary. In addition, the technical use of terms that have different everyday meanings may cause students to misinterpret statements made by instructors, leading to an incomplete or incorrect understanding of the domain. Terms that have different technical and everyday meanings are said to have lexical ambiguity and statistics, as a discipline, has many lexically ambiguous terms. This paper presents a cyclic process for designing activities to address lexical ...


Disrupting Dominant Discourses: A (Re)Introduction To Social Practice Theories Of Adult Numeracy, Helen M. Oughton Jan 2018

Disrupting Dominant Discourses: A (Re)Introduction To Social Practice Theories Of Adult Numeracy, Helen M. Oughton

Numeracy

The role of dominant discourse in constructing a deficit view of adult numeracy is examined, using reports from recent international surveys of adult skills as illustrative examples. Social practice theory is introduced as an alternative perspective for examining the ways adults actually use numeracy in their daily lives and work. This perspective suggests the test items used by large-scale surveys such as PIACC are only proxies for real-life numeracy skills, and that performance in such tests may misrepresent the numeracy skills of adults. Instead, social practice theory suggests that adults may have informal, situated numeracy practices that serve them adequately ...


Parts Of The Whole: Why I Teach This Subject This Way, Dorothy Wallace Jul 2017

Parts Of The Whole: Why I Teach This Subject This Way, Dorothy Wallace

Numeracy

The importance of mathematics to biology is illustrated by search data from Google Scholar. I argue that a pedagogical approach based on student research projects is likely to improve retention and foster critical thinking about mathematical modeling, as well as reinforce quantitative reasoning and the appreciation of calculus as a tool. The usual features of a course (e.g., the instructor, assessment, text, etc.) are shown to have very different purposes in a research-based course.


Learning To Think Slower: Review Of Thinking, Fast And Slow By Daniel Kahneman (2011), Samuel L. Tunstall, Patrick N. Beymer Jul 2017

Learning To Think Slower: Review Of Thinking, Fast And Slow By Daniel Kahneman (2011), Samuel L. Tunstall, Patrick N. Beymer

Numeracy

Daniel Kahneman. Thinking, Fast and Slow (New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux) 499 pp. ISBN 978-0374275631.

As an expansive review of Kahneman and others' work over the past half-century in understanding human decision-making, Thinking, Fast and Slow provides Numeracy readers much to consider for both pedagogy and research. In this review, we outline Kahneman's core argument—that humans use both rash (emotional) System 1 thinking and slow (logical) System 2 thinking—then discuss how such systems might be addressed in a quantitative literacy classroom.