Linfield College Context
1. What is the status of Quantitative Reasoning programming on your campus?
Over the past two years, Linfield College has reviewed and revised its general education curriculum. Through this review process. it became evident that our core curriculum lacked a quantitative component. In the revised curriculum, adopted by the Linfield faculty for implementation in Fall 2008, a Quantitative Reasoning (QR) designation was added to the list of general education requirements. In preparation for the implementation of the revised curriculum, the Linfield faculty (through recommendations of the Curriculum Committee and QR Working Group) has approved over 25 courses this year for QR designation. The breadth of QR courses spans mathematics, physics, biology, chemistry, computer science, sociology, economics, psychology, health sciences, and philosophy.
2. What are the key learning goals that shape your current programming or that you hope to achieve?
The Linfield QR Working Group identified the following four learning objectives for QR courses: 1. Pose questions involving quantitative relationships in real-world contexts by means of numerical, symbolic, and/or visual representations. 2. Analyze problems by discussing models; making appropriate assumptions; and deducing consequences or making predictions. 3. Understand the uses and constraints of various representations of quantitative information. 4. Communicate and critique quantitative arguments. Each course with QR designation must list each of the above objectives as course objectives in the course syllabus. In addition, the syllabus should demonstrate how the course will meet each of the objectives.
3. Do you have QR assessment instruments in place? If so please describe:
We do not have specified assessment instruments as yet for any of our general education designations. The Curriculum Committee is working toward implementing an assessment program within the next year. The most discussed ideas involve collecting representative samples student work, student surveys, and student reflective essays. However, we have yet to fully discuss a particular proposal as a faculty and have not yet reached consensus.
4. Considering your campus culture, what challenges or barriers do you anticipate in implementing or extending practices to develop and assess QR programming on your campus?
The main challenge we face is a lack of consensus regarding assessment itself. Many of the recent faculty discussions concerning assessment reveal concerns about a lack of clarity in what is being assessed. In addition, there are concerns about the ability to make meaningful conclusions when assessing courses from disparate disciplines.
5. Considering your campus culture, what opportunities or assets will be available to support your QR initiatives?
As we have just completed a curricular revision, this is a perfect time to implement a meaningful assessment system. While we have not yet reached agreement concerning how to assess, most of the faculty agree that we need to assess our general education, including QR courses. Finally, as we are in the process of preparing for an accreditation visit in the fall, many see this as an opportunity and as motivation to have a plan in place within the next year.