National Numeracy Network > Meetings and Opportunities > NSF Numeracy Projects Supporting QL in Education > NSF-Supported Project Profiles > Banking on QL

Cinnamon Hillyard, Pete Nye, and Sandeep Krishnamurthy
University of Washington Bothell

Funding provided by UWB Teaching and Learning Center

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Cinnamon Hillyard,


In this interdisciplinary project, we are investigating the roll of quantitative reasoning abilities in making financial decisions. In particular, if students are quantitatively literate, will it affect their financial choices, especially those that have high costs such as payday loans and credit card cash advances.

Project Goals

  1. Obtain a baseline measurement between the relationship of current quantitative skills and attitudes and their past financial choices. The audience of the current study is undergraduate college students.
  2. Develop a set of modules that will closely integrate skills with real world financial choices.

Product Design Elements

We have developed a multiple item instrument that asks about learning behaviors, attitudes about spending, financial decisions, attitudes about mathematics, and quantitative skills. We have administered the instrument to a pilot group and hope to give to a larger sample of undergraduate students in multiple disciplines. We will use this results of this study to design learning modules that integrate what we learn about students behavior, attitudes, quantitative skills, and financial decisions.

This program is important because of the wide spread use of short term loans that come at a high cost to the borrower. It is unknown how students are translating mathematical knowledge when making such choices. For example, if students understand the exponential growth of money, why do they continue to choose a loan with 390% interest? So, an important first step is to understand how these choices are being made.

Our biggest challenge has been finding a representative sample willing to sit down and take a 20 minute survey.

Evaluation and Assessment Strategies

The instrument will undergo rigorous statistical reliability analysis.
Once the baseline measurements are established, we can again use similar measure to investigate the impact of curriculum on financial choices.

Products, Key Findings, Publications

Sample PreCalculus Lab: Investigating Short Term Labs

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