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Friday, February 03, 2006

Quantitative literacy in college students

According to the National Survey of America’s College Students (NSACS) — a study conducted by the American Institutes for Research and funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts — American college students know even less math than we had thought:
Approximately 30 percent of students in 2-year institutions and nearly 20 percent of students in 4-year institutions have only Basic quantitative literacy. Basic literacy skills are those necessary to compare ticket prices or calculate the cost of a sandwich and a salad from a menu... they are unable to estimate if their car has enough gasoline to get to the next gas station or calculate the total cost of ordering office supplies.
They cite the “basic” questions, which most students answered correctly, but unfortunately I was unable to find the actual questions that most students were unable to answer. Estimating the amount of gasoline to get to the next gas station or calculating the total cost of ordering supplies might or might not test important math skills.

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