Wellesley College's Quantitative Reasoning Program has created a number of resources to help individuals improve their QR skills.

The Program has also identified what we consider to be other Web sites that deal with QR topics in the most direct, user-friendly way. We hope these prove useful to others.

Web Resources

Resources in quantitative literacy from the National Numeracy Network

The National Numeracy Network envisions a society in which all citizens possess the power and habit of mind to search out quantitative information, critique it, reflect upon it, and apply it in their public, personal and professional lives.  The NNN promotes quantitative literacy through faculty development, curriculum design, assessment strategies, education research and systemic change. See the many valuable resources on the NNN's Web page and read about efforts to promote quantitative literacy in the NNN's journal Numeracy.

Resources for QR Skills

Algebra Modules and Lessons from "Purplemath: Your Algebra Resource"

Especially good lessons on rudimentary skills (expected of students before entering college) and on essential QR skills (reviewed in QR 140). Fundamental skills reviewed on this site include: the order of operations, fractions and decimals, percentages, exponents and roots, conceptualization of algebra, and introduction to word problems. QR 140 skills reviewed include proportions, scientific notation, and geometry.

Resources to Supplement Data Literacy Courses

Simulations and Demonstrations from the Rice Virtual Lab in Statistics

Great applets, especially on sampling distributions, the normal approximation to the binomial distribution, confidence intervals, the chi-squared test.

Demonstration of a "Plinko Board" from Rand

A nice visual display of a Plinko Board in action - demonstrating the normal approximation to the binomial distribution and the Central Limit Theorem

Demonstration of how different bin widths change a histogram

This applet allows the user to change bin widths on the number of minutes Old Faithful Geyser's eruptions last. The differences in the appearances of the resulting histograms are dramatic.

Applets from "Probability by Surprise"

These applets include the famous "birthday problem" among many others.

A Rubric for Quantitative Literacy:

American Association of Colleges & Universities rubric for QL .

Recommended Readings

On the importance of good quantitative skills:

Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences, by John Allen Paulos. Hill and Wang, 1988.

Mathematics and Democracy: The Case for Quantitative Literacy, by the National Council on Education and the Disciplines, Lynn Arthur Steen, Executive Director. The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, 2001.

A good text to accompany the Introduction to Quantitative Reasoning course:

Using and Understanding Mathematics:  A Quantitative Reasoning Approach, 5th Edition, by Jeffrey O.Bennett and William L. Briggs, Pearson, 2011.

On the use of QR in Business:

Preparing Students for the Business of the Real (and Highly Quantitative) World, by Corrine Taylor, Wellesley College

For those interested, a text to review before taking the QR Assessment:

The Math Workshop: Algebra, by Deborah Hughes-Hallet. W.W. Norton, 1980.

A book on Fermi Puzzles:

How Would you Move Mount Fuji?  Microsoft's Cult of the Puzzle - How the World's Smartest Company Selects the Most Creative Thinkers, by William Poundstone

"For years, Microsoft and other high-tech companies have been posing riddles and logic puzzles in their job interviews.  William Poundstone reveals the toughest questions used at Microsoft and other Fortune 500 companies - and supplies the answers."

Some basic statistics texts, appropriate for Data Literacy statistics courses:

Statistics: A First Course (8th edition), by John E. Freund and Benjamin M. Perles. Prentice Hall, 2003.

Statistical Methods for the Social Sciences (4th edition), by Alan Agresti and Barbara Finlay. Prentice Hall, 1997.

Probability and Statistical Inference (8th edition), by Robert V. Hogg and Elliot A. Tanis. Prentice Hall, 2000.

Seeing Through Statistics (3rd edition), by Jessica M. Utts. Duxbury Press, 1999.

On the visualization and graphics:

Three books by Edward R. Tufte, all published by Cheshire, CT: Graphics Press.

On the use and abuse of statistics:

How to Lie with Statistics , by Darrell Huff. W.W. Norton, 1954.

Damned Lies and Statistics: Untangling Numbers From the Media, Politicians, and Activist s, by Joel Best. University of California Press, 2001.

A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper, by John Allen Paulos. Doubleday, 1995.

On various schools' approaches to QR:

Current Practices in Quantitative Literacy, Edited by Rick Gillman

Calculation vs. Context:  Quantitative Literacy and Its Implications of Teacher Education, Edited by Bernard L. Madison and Lynn Arthur Steen, Wingspread Conference Center, Racine, WI 2007.


On QR assessment:

"Assessing Quantitative Reasoning ", by  Corrine H. Taylor, Wellesley College , Numeracy , Vol. 2, Issue 2, 2009.

"Quantitative Literacy Assessments:  An Introduction to Testing Tests", Dorothy Wallace, Dartmouth College, Kim Rheinlander, Dartmouth College, Steven Woloshin, Dartmouth Medical School, Lisa Schwartz, Dartmouth Medical School, Numeracy, Vol. 2, Issue 2, 2009.

On Assessing QR in Student Writing:

"The Case for Assessing Quantitative Reasoning in Student Writing",  Carleton College Quantitative Inquiry, Reasoning, & Knowledge Initiative