National QR Rubrics

Not all facets of quantitative reasoning (QR) can be demonstrated on a multiple-choice test. For example, the habit of mind to seek out quantitative evidence; the ability to communicate quantitative arguments through text, tables, and graphs; and attention to source credibility is often easier to see in papers or short essays.

The two groups below have created rubrics that have been applied nationally and are freely available. With modest adaptation the rubrics can be applied at the institution, course, student, or assignment level.

Associate of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) (VALUE) Rubrics Project: The AAC&U's Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education (VALUE) project created assessment rubrics for 14 general education learning outcomes including QR. The rubric is free to those who register with the VALUE project. Because the QR rubric was not designed with any particular assignment type in mind, the instrument's dimensions are broadly construed. This makes it possible to adapt the content to many different assignment/course contexts–though it also means that adaptation is likely necessary. One well-studied example of adaptation is that of Boersma et al. (2011) who apply a revised version of the VALUE rubric to their Quantitative Reasoning in the Contemporary World course. The authors show the instrument to be highly reliable in assessing individual students in short answer prompts.

Carleton College's Quantitative Inquiry, Reasoning, and Knowledge (QuIRK) Rubric: The QuIRK rubric was designed for program assessment based on a sample drawn from student papers submitted to courses in the first and second year of college. Because the assignments did not necessarily prompt QR, the assessment strategy provided insight into student habit of mind. The rubric was tested at several other institutions, including on samples which were only responses to QR prompts. The instrument is freely available from the project website.


Boersma, Stuart; Diefenderfer, Caren; Dingman, Shannon W.; and Madison, Bernard L. (2011) "Quantitative Reasoning in the Contemporary World, 3: Assessing Student Learning," Numeracy: Vol. 4: Iss. 2, Article 8.

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