North Iowa Area Community College
1. What is the status of Quantitative Reasoning programming on your campus?
It is a work in progress, in many ways still in its infancy. North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC) has eight General Education goals for all students, and the second goal is quantitative skills: Students will use quantitative skills and the concepts and methods of mathematics to solve problems across disciplines. The Mathematics Department and the Natural Sciences Department are charged with equipping students with these skills. We do not have an organized group or program specifically focused on Quantitative Reasoning but would like to put one together to help not only the Math and Science Departments but other departments in jointly working together to provide these important skills to our students.
2. What are the key learning goals that shape your current programming or that you hope to achieve?
We are interested in better articulating and understanding quantitative reasoning skills. We believe that with clearer definitions and a deeper understanding we can find ways to better assess these skills and find ways for other departments to also help students develop these skills. We would also like to find valid and reliable ways to measure whether or not students have these skills and measure whether or not we are providing these skills to our students. Once these measures are identified we would like to incorporate them into our departmental assessment plans and exit exams for graduates to help us identify areas of improvement.
3. Do you have QR assessment instruments in place? If so; please describe:
We do not have QR assessment instruments in place, which is one of our challenges. We have a small group that has been working on developing some questions for an exit exam for graduates but it has not been agreed upon and there is some resistance from various individuals and departments in the college.
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 Math and Science departments have a long history of working cooperatively together, but that cooperation does not always carry across to other departments. One challenge will be extending the idea of incorporating QR into other departments. The college has a committee, the Educational Effectiveness Committee, which oversees assessment on campus, periodically reviewing each department's assessment plan. This committee has also worked on developing questions for an exit exam to help evaluate skills of graduating students. This committee has struggled with developing appropriate questions to measure quantitative skills. We believe this workshop can help identify tools for doing so, but there may be some resistance to incorporating these tools. The last challenge will be time. Instructors have a full load and the College continues to ask instructors to do more with in that time.
5. Considering your campus culture; what opportunities or assets will be available to support your QR initiatives?
The Mathematics and Natural Science Divisions have a strong commitment to improving student's critical thinking and quantitative reasoning skills. Both of these departments have the support of the administration. NIACC is moving to AQIP for accreditation and this model will provide opportunities for these types of activities.