Definition and Learning Outcomes
Quantitative reasoning competency at Norfolk State University refers to the ability to use critical thinking to solve problems of a numerical nature arising in life and work. It includes those mathematical skills and concepts that an educated citizen needs to function in contemporary society. At a minimum, it involves elements of arithmetic, informal geometry, algebraic symbolization, data representation and analysis, probability, mathematical modeling, and informal logic. Individuals proficient in quantitative reasoning possess a basic understanding of the role that numbers play in society, and they possess the ability to make reasoned judgments using mathematical tools to solve real world problems.
NSU graduates demonstrating competent quantitative reasoning skills will be able to solve problems that involve:
- Numeric or arithmetic contexts: Estimation and approximation, percent, ratio and proportion, simple and compound interest, simple formulas, etc.
- Conceptual contexts: Pattern recognition, symbolizing data, graphing analysis, algebraic expressions, equations, models, etc.
- Geometric contexts: Measurement, conversion of units, shapes and sizes, basic relationships among lines, angles, triangles, polygons, etc.
- Data representation and chance element contexts: Counting techniques, data distribution, basic statistical measures, elementary probability, etc.
NSU employs both direct (NSU QRT) and indirect assessment measures (NSSE and GSES).
1) NSU has adopted a course-embedded direct approach to assess the competency of NSU students on the four quantitative reasoning dimensions. To gather evidence of quantitative reasoning competency, the faculty developed NSU Quantitative Reasoning Test (QRT) will be administered to all students enrolled in the required mathematics general education courses (MTH 103, 105, 132, or 153). The QRT is a 20-item multiple-choice test. The QRT’s table of specifications demonstrates that all four dimensions of quantitative reasoning are appropriately and sufficiently reflected in the test items. External test development and evaluation consultants have validated the table of specifications and the QRT items.
2) The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) is administered annually, with at least 300 seniors completing the survey. The NSSE data for seniors on item 11F (as used on the 2010 NSSE) will be reported.
3) The NSU Graduating Student Exit Survey (GSES) is administered to all NSU graduating students every semester. Annually, at least 600 students complete the survey. Data on the following GSES items will be reported to triangulate QRT and NSSE data:
- My major/program developed or enhanced my quantitative (mathematical) reasoning skills.
- In general, my education at Norfolk State developed or enhanced my ability to apply mathematical concepts to solve technological and other problems.
- In general, my education at Norfolk State developed or enhanced my ability to use a computer to calculate and manipulate quantitative information.
1) Competency in quantitative reasoning is defined as an overall score of 70% correct or higher on the NSU Quantitative Reasoning Test (QRT). It is expected that at least 70% of students successfully completing courses meeting the University’s general education mathematics requirement will earn an overall score of 70% or higher on the NSU QRT.
2) Seniors will report levels of engagement/ perceived growth at the national average on item 11f on the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE).
3) At least two-thirds of NSU graduates will report, on the Graduating Student Exit Survey (GSES), that their education at Norfolk State significantly developed or enhanced their quantitative (mathematical) reasoning skills; developed or enhanced their ability to apply mathematical concepts to solve technological and other problems; and developed or enhanced their ability to use a computer to calculate and manipulate quantitative information (% 4+5 on a scale of 1-not at all to 5-a great deal).