Quantitative LiteracyThrough Social Science:Don’t Be Afraid of Data!International Conference on College      Teaching and ...
Session Outline• Defining “quantitative literacy (QL)” and  “data”• Why the emphasis on quantitative  literacy?• “But, I t...
Defining QuantitativeLiteracy/Reasoning, Numeracy   “Statistical literacy, quantitative literacy, numeracy --Under   the h...
• Skills learned & used within a context• Skills:  – Reading and interpreting tables or graphs    and to calculating perce...
What do we mean by “data”?• Definitions differ by context. Data can be:  – Citing another author who supports your point  ...
From Where Do Data Come?• Administrative records (e.g., human  resource files, police records)• Census and other governmen...
Why is QL Important?• Critical for a democratic society (Steen  2001)  – Informed citizenry – must be able to make    sens...
Importance (Con’t)• Job skills
Why QL Across the Curriculum?• “Quantitative literacy largely determines an individual‟s  capacity to control his or her q...
QL Outside of Math/Statistics• Other disciplines provide context for  numbers, giving them meaning• More repetition of ski...
How to Include Data• Start class with a data-based news article• Have students interpret charts/graphs from  popular media...
Tools for Faculty• Data archives  – Public opinion  – Topic-specific archives• Quantitative news blogs• Pre-made exercises...
Public Opinion Data• Roper Center for Public Opinion  Research  http://www.ropercenter.uconn.edu• Gallup: http://www.gallu...
Topic-specific Archives• Association of Religion Data Archives(www.thearda.com)• Sociometrics (family, AIDS, maternal  dru...
News Blogs & Quick Facts• TeachingWithData.org – Data in the  News• U.S. Census Newsroom• Other government sources;  organ...
Collections of Resources• Science Education Resource Center  (Carleton College – pedagogical  materials)• TeachingWithData...
Arguments and Evidence fromSocial Sciences• Increased learning  – Makes course content relevant to students  – Emphasizes ...
More Arguments/Evidence• Provides students with marketable  skills  – ASA survey – statistical knowledge    most widely re...
How might you usesurvey or other data inYOUR course? Otherideas? Challenges?
Questions???• For more information:  – Lynette Hoelter (lhoelter@umich.edu)  – Linda Detterman    (lindamd@umich.edu)
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Quantitative Literacy: Don't be afraid of data (in the classroom)!

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This presentation was conducted at the International Conference on College Teaching and Learning, April 11, 2012. It contains several links to interesting data and statistics, not too complex, that can easily be introduced for discussion in the classroom.

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  • Have you checked tuvalabs.com its helping teachers and students to gain data literacy at classroom level with help of real datasets of their interest and activities around it to enable them to explore data meaningfully.
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Quantitative Literacy: Don't be afraid of data (in the classroom)!

  1. 1. Quantitative LiteracyThrough Social Science:Don’t Be Afraid of Data!International Conference on College Teaching and Learning April 11, 2012 Linda Detterman Lynette Hoelter ICPSR, Univ. of Michigan
  2. 2. Session Outline• Defining “quantitative literacy (QL)” and “data”• Why the emphasis on quantitative literacy?• “But, I teach English… – …. I don‟t „do‟ data” – …. my students don‟t „do‟ data” – …. what does quantitative literacy mean for me?”• Tools for incorporating data in the classroom• Evidence of effectiveness from social sciences
  3. 3. Defining QuantitativeLiteracy/Reasoning, Numeracy “Statistical literacy, quantitative literacy, numeracy --Under the hood, it is what do we want people to be able to do: Read tables and graphs and understand English statements that have numbers in them. That‟s a good start,” said Milo Schield, a professor of statistics at Augsburg College and a vice president of the National Numeracy Network. Shield was dismayed to find that, in a survey of his new students, 44 percent could not read a simple 100 percent row table and about a quarter could not accurately interpret a scatter plot of adult heights and weights. Chandler, Michael Alison. What is Quantitative Literacy?, Washington Post, Feb. 5, 2009
  4. 4. • Skills learned & used within a context• Skills: – Reading and interpreting tables or graphs and to calculating percentages and the like – Working within a scientific model (variables, hypotheses, etc.) – Understanding and critically evaluating numbers presented in everyday lives – Evaluating arguments based on data – Knowing what kinds of data might be useful in answering particular questions• For a straightforward definition/skill list, see Samford University‟s (not social science specific)
  5. 5. What do we mean by “data”?• Definitions differ by context. Data can be: – Citing another author who supports your point – Analysis of newspaper articles, blogs, Twitter feeds, commercials, etc. looking for themes – The result of an in-depth interview or observation – Information from medical tests, experiments, and other “scientific” exercises• For this presentation, “data” refers to summary information presented numerically in graphs, charts, or tables and the underlying survey results.
  6. 6. From Where Do Data Come?• Administrative records (e.g., human resource files, police records)• Census and other government data collections• Individuals responding to a survey – Highly standardized – Recorded (“coded”) as numbers and these numbers can be used in combination to say something about the group of people who responded
  7. 7. Why is QL Important?• Critical for a democratic society (Steen 2001) – Informed citizenry – must be able to make sense of information coming from multiple sources. – “The wall of ignorance between those who are quantitatively literate and those who are not can threaten democratic culture. – Quantitative literacy largely determines an individual‟s capacity to control his or her quality of life and to participate effectively in social decision-making” (MAA 2004: xii)
  8. 8. Importance (Con’t)• Job skills
  9. 9. Why QL Across the Curriculum?• “Quantitative literacy largely determines an individual‟s capacity to control his or her quality of life and to participate effectively in social decision-making.• Educational policy and practice have fallen behind the rapidly changing data-oriented needs of modern society, and undergraduate education is the appropriate locus of leadership for making the necessary changes• QL is not about „basic skills‟ but rather, like reading and writing, is a demanding college-level learning expectation that cuts across the entire undergraduate curriculum• The current calculus-driven high school curriculum is unlikely to produce a quantitatively literate student population” (MAA 2004:xii)
  10. 10. QL Outside of Math/Statistics• Other disciplines provide context for numbers, giving them meaning• More repetition of skills, better learning• Inclusion in multiple settings reduces student anxiety• Teacher anxiety can be reduced with tools (pre-made exercises, interpretations given)
  11. 11. How to Include Data• Start class with a data-based news article• Have students interpret charts/graphs from popular media and critique news articles• Require empirical evidence to support claims in essays• Question banks and exercises allow students to work with surveys and the resulting data• Have students collect data• Engage students by having them find maps, graphs, or other data that provide examples of course content.
  12. 12. Tools for Faculty• Data archives – Public opinion – Topic-specific archives• Quantitative news blogs• Pre-made exercises, pedagogical examples• Collections of resources
  13. 13. Public Opinion Data• Roper Center for Public Opinion Research http://www.ropercenter.uconn.edu• Gallup: http://www.gallup.com• NORC reports & data: www.norc.org/Research/DataFindings• Pew Social & Demographic Trends: http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/
  14. 14. Topic-specific Archives• Association of Religion Data Archives(www.thearda.com)• Sociometrics (family, AIDS, maternal drug abuse, etc.)
  15. 15. News Blogs & Quick Facts• TeachingWithData.org – Data in the News• U.S. Census Newsroom• Other government sources; organizations – beware of credibility
  16. 16. Collections of Resources• Science Education Resource Center (Carleton College – pedagogical materials)• TeachingWithData.org• ICPSR – Online Learning Center – Modules – Tools (SSVD, Bibliography, SDA)
  17. 17. Arguments and Evidence fromSocial Sciences• Increased learning – Makes course content relevant to students – Emphasizes substantive points – Higher student engagement (typically)• Better sense of field – Less disconnect between substantive and technical courses – Learn how social scientists actually work
  18. 18. More Arguments/Evidence• Provides students with marketable skills – ASA survey – statistical knowledge most widely represented on resumes – Enhances writing and critical thinking
  19. 19. How might you usesurvey or other data inYOUR course? Otherideas? Challenges?
  20. 20. Questions???• For more information: – Lynette Hoelter (lhoelter@umich.edu) – Linda Detterman (lindamd@umich.edu)

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