Assessing and Programming for Quantitative Reasoning: Common Barriers, Common Assets

With support from the National Science Foundation(#DUE-0717604), Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL) and Carleton College's Quantitative Inquiry, Reasoning, and Knowledge (QuIRK) initiative hosted the workshop "Quantifying Quantitative Reasoning in Undergraduate Education: Alternative Strategies for the Assessment of Quantitative Reasoning." In preparation for their work, participating institutional teams responded to two questions:

  • 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?
  • Considering your campus culture, what opportunities or assets will be available to support your QR initiatives?

Despite extensive diversity in institutional type and size, the answers point to significant commonality in experience.

By recognizing our shared challenges and opportunities, leaders in the quantitative reasoning (QR) movement can better and more swiftly enact change on our individual campuses and across higher education more broadly. Below we report excerpts from the institutional team responses (with very slight editing), organized to highlight important themes. Each theme concludes with remarks from one of the workshop facilitators.

Common Barriers

Faculty buy-in to QR

Limited faculty time

Resistance to assessment generally

Challenges of interdisciplinarity

Change fatigue

Institutional inertia

Faculty development

Common Assets

Faculty and staff expertise

The broader curriculum


Learning and Teaching Centers

Other more established initiatives

Administrative support

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