Quantitative Reasoning

The ability to think clearly and critically about quantitative issues is imperative in contemporary society.

Today, quantitative reasoning is required in virtually all academic fields, is used in most every profession, and is necessary for decision-making in everyday life. The Quantitative Reasoning Program is designed to ensure that Wellesley College students are proficient in the use of mathematical, logical, and statistical problem-solving tools needed in today's increasingly quantitative world.

The College's QR requirement has two components: the "basic skills" component and the "data literacy" (formerly "QR overlay") component. The basic skills component is satisfied either by passing the QR Assessment given during Orientation or by passing the QR basic skills course (QR 140). Students are required to satisfy the basic skills component in their first year so that they may enroll in the many courses for which basic quantitative skills (including algebra, geometry, basic probability, and statistics, graph theory, and estimation) are a prerequisite.

The data literacy component is satisfied by passing a "data literacy course." Such courses emphasize statistical analysis and interpretation of data in a specific discipline. In a data literacy class, students study the framework for data analysis, examine various methods of data collection and measurement, and learn how to represent and summarize data, using various statistical distributions. They also study probability in order to understand sampling and inferential statistics. Advanced topics in data literacy courses include analysis of variance and multiple regression analysis. Currently, the College offers data literacy courses in astronomy, biological sciences, chemistry, computer science, economics, education, geosciences, mathematics, philosophy, physics, political science, psychology, and sociology.

The QR Program provides a number of services to the academic community. It administers the Quantitative Reasoning Assessment , staffs the basic skills QR course, and supports existing data literacy courses. The QR Program also provides curricular support to faculty interested in modifying existing courses or designing new ones so that these courses will satisfy the overlay component of the quantitative reasoning requirement. Additionally, the QR Program sponsors workshops on quantitative topics and provides tutorial support for both students and faculty.