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Numeracy : Advancing Education in Quantitative Literacy     Open Access   (Followers: 1)
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Numeracy : Advancing Education in Quantitative Literacy
Number of Followers: 1  

  This is an Open Access Journal Open Access journal
ISSN (Print) 1936-4660
Published by Berkeley Electronic Press Homepage  [3 journals]
  • COVID-19: A Developing Crisis for Quantitative Reasoning

    • Authors: Nathan D. Grawe
      Abstract: Assessment data show substantial learning losses resulting from pandemic-era teaching and learning. While all learning domains have been affected, mathematics performance shows particularly large losses among elementary and secondary school students. Advocates for quantitative reasoning in high schools and colleges should anticipate weaker levels of basic numeracy among entering cohorts for a decade to come. As a consequence, the urgency to reform curricula and student support has never been greater.
      PubDate: Sat, 15 Jan 2022 11:55:47 PST
       
  • Computing for Numeracy: Kiyoo Mogi and the Nature of Volcanoes

    • Authors: Charles Connor
      Abstract: Dramatic volcanic eruptions occurred in the Spring of 2021 in Iceland and St. Vincent. This column explores the use of a numerical model to understand the giant displacements of the Earth's surface that result from such volcanic activity. The model used was development by Japanese geophysicist Kiyoo Mogi to explain a much older eruption, the 1914 eruption of Sakurajima volcano, located in Kyushu, Japan. Mogi's model was so successful, and is still widely used today, because he took a step-by-step approach to solving this complicated problem, making simplifying assumptions where he could, and using data to the maximum extent possible to estimate a reasonable solution.
      PubDate: Sat, 15 Jan 2022 11:55:41 PST
       
  • Educating Consumers and Producers of Data: Review of Making Sense of
           Numbers by Jane E. Miller (2022)

    • Authors: Andrew J. Miller
      Abstract: Author Jane E. Miller has brought her considerable experience writing and teaching about numerate communication to a new textbook, Making Sense of Numbers. Miller uses clear prose, timely and authentic examples, and thought-provoking exercises to educate the next generation of consumers and producers of data, students in introductory quantitative reasoning, research methods, or data analysis courses. While the textbook does not fit the mold of a "typical" quantitative literacy course, creative instructors may find ways to use it in innovative quantitative literacy, data literacy, or introductory data science courses.
      PubDate: Sat, 15 Jan 2022 11:55:33 PST
       
  • Author’s Reflections on Making Sense of Numbers: Quantitative Reasoning
           for Social Research

    • Authors: Jane E. Miller
      Abstract: Miller, Jane E. 2021. Making Sense of Numbers: Quantitative Reasoning for Social Research. (Los Angeles: SAGE Publications) 608 pp. ISBN 978-1544355597.This article introduces and provides an excerpt from Making Sense of Numbers: Quantitative Reasoning for Social Research, published by Sage. The book explains and illustrates how making sense of numbers involves integrating concepts and skills from mathematics, statistics, study design, and communications, along with information about the specific topic and context under study. It teaches how to avoid making common errors of logic, calculation, and interpretation by introducing a systematic approach and a healthy dose of skepticism to understanding and applying numbers to social research and everyday tasks.
      PubDate: Sat, 15 Jan 2022 11:55:27 PST
       
  • Numeracy and Financial Wellbeing During the COVID-19 Pandemic

    • Authors: Nora Wikoff
      Abstract: This paper examines the role of numeracy in smoothing financial difficulties during the COVID-19 pandemic. The results show that numeracy was associated with a 30% reduction in late or non-payment of bills and a 20% reduction in the odds of feeling financially squeezed. The effect of numeracy on financial wellbeing was remarkably consistent across levels of education, ethnicity, and gender, suggesting that improving numeracy levels in the population may be an effective strategy to increase financial capability across the board. However, while numerate individuals were less likely to experience financial difficulty, high numeracy did not predict narrower gaps between Whites and ethnic minorities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Governments must take seriously the need to address the constraints and institutional barriers that keep individuals from achieving financial wellbeing.
      PubDate: Sat, 15 Jan 2022 11:55:19 PST
       
  • Building a Social and Academic Online Bridge to Quantitatively-Rich
           College Coursework

    • Authors: Melissa Eblen-Zayas et al.
      Abstract: We describe the online summer portion of a quantitative skills bridge program focused on helping students prepare socially and academically for the transition to college. College students are increasingly asked to employ quantitative skills across the curriculum, but students arrive at college with varied preparation. Further, those with the least preparation often encounter other challenges to social belongingness and navigating their institution. In response to these needs, our institution developed a bridge program aimed at students with a broad range of interests -- not just STEM, and the program has a significant focus on community-building as well as strengthening quantitative skills. The six-week summer online portion is followed by a face-to-face fall portion. Here we describe key design aspects of the online portion of the program: program goals and structure, selection and demographics of participants, and resources required to run the program. In addition, we share lessons learned that may be relevant for other institutions considering such a quantitative skills bridge program.
      PubDate: Sat, 15 Jan 2022 11:55:08 PST
       
  • Surveying the Landscape of Numbers in U.S. News

    • Authors: John Voiklis et al.
      Abstract: The news arguably serves to inform the quantitative reasoning (QR) of news audiences. Before one can contemplate how well the news serves this function, we first need to determine how much QR typical news stories require from readers. This paper assesses the amount of quantitative content present in a wide array of media sources, and the types of QR required for audiences to make sense of the information presented. We build a corpus of 230 US news reports across four topic areas (health, science, economy, and politics) in February 2020. After classifying reports for QR required at both the conceptual and phrase levels, we find that the news stories in our sample can largely be classified along a single dimension: The amount of quantitative information they contain. There were two main types of quantitative clauses: those reporting on magnitude and those reporting on comparisons. While economy and health reporting required significantly more QR than science or politics reporting, we could not reliably differentiate the topic area based on story-level requirements for quantitative knowledge and clause-level quantitative content. Instead, we find three reliable clusters of stories based on the amounts and types of quantitative information in the news stories.
      PubDate: Tue, 30 Nov 2021 10:29:02 PST
       
  • An Introduction to Calling Bullshit: Learning to Think Outside
           the Black Box

    • Authors: Jevin D. West et al.
      Abstract: Bergstrom, Carl T. and Jevin D. West. 2020. Calling Bullshit: The Art of Skepticism in a Data-Driven World. (New York: Random House) 336 pp. ISBN 978-0525509202.While statistical methods receive greater attention, the art of critically evaluating information in everyday life more commonly depends on thinking outside the black box of the algorithm. In this piece we introduce readers to our book and associated online teaching materials—for readers who want to more capably call “bullshit” or to teach their students to do the same.
      PubDate: Tue, 10 Aug 2021 12:50:06 PDT
       
  • Quantitative Literacy and Guns

    • Authors: William Briggs
      Abstract: Briggs, William. 2017. How America Got Its Guns: A History of the Gun Violence Crisis; (Albuquerque, University of New Mexico Press). 352 pp. Paperback: ISBN 978-0-8263-5813-4. E-book ISBN 978-0-8263-5814-1.Quantitative literacy and statistics are just two of many disciplines required to understand the problem of gun violence in America. However, it’s also useful to appreciate their limitations in an issue that is so complex.
      PubDate: Sun, 11 Jul 2021 16:40:46 PDT
       
  • Guns and the Limits of Numeracy: Review of How America Got Its Guns: A
           History of the Gun Violence Crisis, by William Briggs.

    • Authors: Joel Best
      Abstract: William Briggs. 2017. How America Got Its Guns: A History of the Gun Violence Crisis; (Albuquerque, University of New Mexico Press). Paperback: ISBN 978-0-8263-5813-4. E-book ISBN 978-0-8263-5814-1.

      Mathematician William Briggs (co-author of the well-regarded Understanding and Using Mathematics) has written a remarkably thorough and evenhanded analysis of gun policy in the United States that draws upon the work of historians, legal scholars, social scientists, and advocates. He gives respectful hearings to claims about the importance of both gun rights and gun control. The breadth of his coverage makes it almost certain that any reader will discover new angles for thinking about gun issues.
      PubDate: Sun, 11 Jul 2021 16:40:38 PDT
       
  • The Cost of Mathematical Illiteracy: Review of Innumeracy in the Wild by
           Ellen Peters (2020)

    • Authors: Anne Kelly
      Abstract: In Innumeracy in the Wild (Oxford University Press, 2020), Ellen Peters, a researcher in decision science, persuasively argues that numeracy skills, numeric confidence, and our intuitive sense for numbers impact our lifelong outcomes in health and wellbeing. Peters draws from research and real-world examples to show how daily life for innumerate people is different from that of numerate people and makes practical recommendations on improving how we communicate numerical information.
      PubDate: Sun, 11 Jul 2021 16:40:30 PDT
       
  • Be Careful! That is Probably Bullshit! Review of Calling Bullshit: The Art
           of Skepticism in a Data-Driven World by Carl T. Bergstrom and Jevin D.
           West

    • Authors: James B. Schreiber
      Abstract: Bergstrom, C. T., & West, J. D. 2021. Calling Bullshit: The Art of Skepticism in a Data-Driven World. NY: Random House. 336 pp. ISBN 978-0525509189The authors provide a journey through the numerical bullshit that surrounds our daily lives. Each chapter has multiple examples of specific types of bullshit that each of us experience on any given day. Most importantly, information on how to identify bullshit and refute it are provided so that reader finishes the book with a set of skills to be a more engaged and critical interpreter of information. The writing has a quick and lively pace that a wide audience will enjoy.
      PubDate: Sun, 11 Jul 2021 16:40:21 PDT
       
  • Considering What Counts: Claims about Nearly-Ubiquitous Social Problems

    • Authors: Joel Best
      Abstract: Press coverage of a recent survey suggests that sexual harassment is nearly ubiquitous in the UK. Thinking critically about claims of nearly-ubiquitous social problems requires: (1) asking how the statistic was produced; (2) considering questions of measurement; and (3) recognizing that the the most severe forms that social problems take tend to be much less common than less serious forms
      PubDate: Sun, 11 Jul 2021 16:40:16 PDT
       
  • Lessons from the Pandemic

    • Authors: Nathan D. Grawe
      Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic highlights the importance of quantitative literacy--for policy makers and the public at large. While all aspects of numeracy have been shown relevant to the past year, our need for broader statistical literacy appear particularly pressing. Pandemic experiences may motivate greater interest in developing numeracy skills.
      PubDate: Sun, 11 Jul 2021 16:40:09 PDT
       
  • Confidence Intervals of COVID-19 Vaccine Efficacy Rates

    • Authors: Frank Wang
      Abstract: This tutorial uses publicly available data from drug makers and the Food and Drug Administration to guide learners to estimate the confidence intervals of COVID-19 vaccine efficacy rates with a Bayesian framework. Under the classical approach, there is no probability associated with a parameter, and the meaning of confidence intervals can be misconstrued by inexperienced students. With Bayesian statistics, one can find the posterior probability distribution of an unknown parameter, and state the probability of vaccine efficacy rate, which makes the communication of uncertainty more flexible. We use a hypothetical example and a real baseball example to guide readers to learn the beta-binomial model before analyzing the clinical trial data. This note is designed to be accessible for lower-level college students with elementary statistics and elementary algebra skills.
      PubDate: Tue, 04 May 2021 08:51:22 PDT
       
  • Engaging Social Science Students with Statistics: Opportunities,
           Challenges and Barriers

    • Authors: Charlotte Brookfield et al.
      Abstract: In 2012, in a bid to improve the quantitative methods training of social science students in the UK, the £19.5 million Q-Step project was launched. This investment demonstrated a significant commitment to changing how we train social science students in quantitative research methods in the UK. The project has involved eighteen higher education institutions exploring and trialling potential ways of engaging social science students with quantitative approaches.This paper reflects on the activities of one Q-Step centre based in the School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University. As well as describing some of the pedagogic changes that have been implemented, the paper draws on data to begin to evaluate the success of new approaches. Specifically, data showing the proportion of students undertaking a quantitative final-year dissertation project is used to measure the impact of these activities. The data presented in this paper suggest that resistance to learning quantitative research methods and engaging with such techniques has decreased. The data also indicates that students see this learning as beneficial for their own employability. Despite this, closer analysis reveals that several students change their mind about employing quantitative methods in their own research part way through their dissertation journey. We argue that while social science students are comfortable learning about quantitative approaches, they are less confident at applying these techniques. Thus, the paper argues that there is a wider challenge of demonstrating the relevance and appropriateness of such approaches to understanding the social world.
      PubDate: Thu, 22 Apr 2021 07:25:27 PDT
       
  • Investigating Alignment in a Quantitative Literacy Course for Social
           Sciences Students

    • Authors: Vera Frith et al.
      Abstract: The Numeracy Centre at the University of Cape Town has taught a one-semester quantitative literacy course for social sciences students since 1999. This study aims to provide an example for how the design of such a course can be assessed for alignment with quantitative reasoning goals. We propose a framework of learning outcomes for the course and use that framework to analyse the assessments and student performance on them. We find that just under half of the overall mark for the course was devoted to the interpretation and communication of quantitative information (our “main” outcomes), and about a quarter was devoted to the performing of calculations. The analysis revealed that statistics outcomes were under-represented in the make-up of the overall course mark, and assessment of these outcomes was restricted almost entirely to the two final examinations. The results of the analysis of the alignment between outcomes and assessment are useful to inform discussions about changes to the course curriculum. The analysis of student performance on the different outcomes provides insights which are useful for informing improvements to our teaching approach. The analysis demonstrates a relatively straightforward procedure that can be used or adapted by researchers in other institutions for ongoing monitoring of alignment between course outcomes, teaching, and assessment.
      PubDate: Wed, 14 Apr 2021 09:54:13 PDT
       
  • An Astronomer’s Journey into Quantitative Reasoning

    • Authors: Jeffrey Bennett
      Abstract: The University of Colorado Boulder campus introduced what may have been the world’s first quantitative reasoning (QR) requirement in 1984 and started offering a QR course in 1988. Although I am an astronomer by training, I had the privilege of creating and teaching that course, which led to my co-authorship of the first textbook directed specifically at QR courses. In this “Roots and Seeds” piece, I will discuss how this course and textbook came to be, how I as an astronomer ended up involved in it, and how this work has connected with other aspects of my career.
      PubDate: Wed, 31 Mar 2021 14:15:15 PDT
       
  • Looking Back at Quantitative Reasoning

    • Authors: William Briggs
      Abstract: A teacher looks back on three decades of teaching, pondering, and writing about quantitative reasoning (QR) and shares a few lessons learned. The skills that we teach in QR courses are more important than ever in providing students with a sense of civic virtue: the ability to be engaged and informed citizens in an increasingly complex and quantitative world.
      PubDate: Wed, 31 Mar 2021 14:15:06 PDT
       
  • Journalism and Numeracy in Context: Four Case Studies

    • Authors: Steven Harrison
      Abstract: Although research into the relationship between quantitative literacy (QL) and news reporting is sparse, the consensus among researchers is that journalists tend not to place QL very highly among their professional values and that journalism suffers as a consequence. This paper is an attempt to provide concrete examples of the ways in which news reports systemically misinterpret, misrepresent, or misuse numerical data as part of the reporting process. Drawing on scenarios ranging from elections and healthcare to the mundane world of food preparation, it shows how a lack of rigour in the fields of reporting and news production can lead to a diminution in the quality of journalism presented to the public. It is argued that while the effect of this can sometimes be trivial, on occasion it is literally a matter of life and death.
      PubDate: Mon, 01 Mar 2021 09:33:53 PST
       
 
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