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Quantitative Literacy (Q) Designation

Quantitative literacy (Q) designation

Definition of Quantitative Literacy

Quantitative Literacy (QL) is a ‘habit of mind’ competency, and comfort in working with
numerical data. Individuals with strong QL skills possess the ability to reason and solve
quantitative problems from a wide array of contexts. They understand and can create
sophisticated arguments supported by quantitative evidence and they can clearly
communicate those arguments in a variety of formats (using words, tables, graphs,
mathematical equations, algorithms, etc., as appropriate). (adapted from AACU)

Quantitative Literacy Value Rubric

BS Graduation Requirement

The WOU requirement for students seeking a bachelor of science degree is completion of
a combined total of 11-12 credit hours in mathematics, computer science, and/or a
designated quantitative literacy course (Q) course. A minimum of one course in
mathematics at the level of MTH 111 or above and one course in computer science is
required. The remaining required credit hours may be from either discipline or designated
quantitative literacy courses in other disciplines. CS 101 may not be used to meet any
portion of this 11-12 credit requirement. Quantitative literacy courses used to complete
this requirement carry a special Q designation in the schedule of classes and on the

Goal of Quantitative Literacy Requirement

The goal of Quantitative Literacy (Q) courses at WOU is to expose students to the wide
range of applications of quantitative literacy in various disciplines and to produce
students who are proficient in a core set of quantitative literacy competencies (e.g.
interpretation, representation, calculation, application/analysis, assumptions and

In a Q course, college level quantitative literacy concepts will be developed and used as an
integral part of the course. The course should provide ongoing opportunities for the
student to develop the quantitative literacy skills and investigate the role, application, and
limitations of the specific quantitative literacy concepts in the relevant discipline.
It is highly recommended that MTH111 is a prerequisite for a Q course.


Guidelines for Q Approval

To be approved for a “Q” designation, courses must:

1. Expressly include opportunities for students to demonstrate both statements
below* (Note these statements are adopted from the Calculation and
Application/Analysis features of the Quantitative Literacy Value Rubric).

  • Student attempts calculations that are essentially all successful and sufficiently
    comprehensive to solve the problem.
  • Student uses the quantitative analysis of data as the basis for competent
    judgments, drawing reasonable and appropriately qualified conclusions from this


Expressly include opportunities for students to demonstrate at least two of
the statements below* (Note these statements are adopted from the
Interpretation, Representation, Assumptions and Communication features of
the Quantitative Literacy Value Rubric).

  • Student provides accurate explanations of information presented in
    mathematical forms. (e.g., equations, graphs, diagrams, tables, words, algorithms)
  • Student competently converts relevant information into an appropriate and
    desired mathematical portrayal.
  • Student explicitly describes assumptions and provides compelling rationale for
    why assumptions are appropriate.
  • Student (predominantly) effectively uses quantitative information in connection
    with the argument or purpose of the work.

*Faculty may wish to use more simplified language in their objective statements.
Objectives need not be presented verbatim as listed above, but must be
unmistakably aligned.

2. Incorporate activities that provide students the opportunity to engage with
“Q” concepts in regular, frequent, assessable, and meaningful (i.e. discipline-specific)

3. Assesses students’ ability to achieve the “Q” objectives in such a way that:

  • In the aggregate, “Q” related assessments amount to at least 75% of the course


  •  Requires students to complete a significant project (worth at least 33% of the
    course grade) that involves the application of quantitative literacy concepts.

Note: Courses designated as Q can also be taught without that designation.

Process for obtaining Q designation for a course

The Faculty Senate’s General Education Committee recommends to the Curriculum
Committee the Q designation for courses based on statements and syllabi submitted by
individuals or departments. A completed Q form should be attached to the e-form
curricular request. Include a syllabus and supporting documents to facilitate the process.
Useful supporting materials are anything that could help the committee determine the
level of quantitative literacy content and percent of course grade dependent on
quantitative literacy. Examples include copies of exams, the table of contents from a
course textbook, detailed project guidelines and scoring rubrics, etc.

Q Designation form

Quantitative literacy questions are included on curricular e-form (see facultysenate/curriculum/ for general guidelines). The copy provided here is for planning purposes.