Skip to main content

Quantitative Reasoning

Quantitative Reasoning (QR) is a designation from the University to identify courses that are committed to enhancing learners' mathematical ability by using quantitative processes to organize content and address everyday problems. Some institutions refer to these as quantitative literacy, or QL, courses. According to a rubric from the Association of American Colleges and Universities (2009), quantitative literacy is demonstrated when one can: 

  • Interpret – Explain information presented in mathematical forms (e.g., equations, graphs, diagrams, tables, words).
  • Represent – Convert relevant information into various mathematical forms (e.g., equations, graphs, diagrams, tables, words).
  • Calculate – Determine a mathematical value.
  • Apply/Analyze – Make judgments and draw appropriate conclusions based on quantitative analysis of data while recognizing the limits of this analysis.
  • Make Assumptions – Make and evaluate important assumptions in estimation, modeling, and data analysis.
  • Communicate – Express quantitative evidence in support of the argument of the purpose of the work (e.g., determining what data is used as evidence, formatting and presenting data appropriately, contextualizing the data appropriately).

Resources Related to Quantitative Literacy Across the Curriculum

College/University QR Program Pages 

  • QuIRK, Carleton College’s Quantitative Inquiry, Reasoning, and Knowledge Initiative: The material on this site, designed with grants from FIPSE, NSF, and the Keck Foundation, is intended to help institutions “better prepare students to evaluate and use quantitative evidence in their future roles.” The site provides curricular materials for infusing quantitative reasoning throughout the curriculum, assessment, program design, and more. See also the QuIRK page of links to other quantitative reasoning programs and additional QR teaching resources.  
  • Mathematics Across the Curriculum at Dartmouth College: The MATC Project ended in 2000, but this site has its goals, principles, links to MATC courses, and the Evaluation Summary for this five-year project.  The resources they compiled are described above with a link to those in higher education.  

CMU Resources for Faculty and Students 


Association of American Colleges and Universities. (2009). Quantitative Literacy VALUE Rubric. Retrieved from