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Sample Proposal: Quantitative Reasoning

College of Natural Sciences

Please direct all questions about the flag proposal process to the Center for the Core Curriculum.

SSC 302: Data Analysis for the Health Sciences

Department of Statistics/Scientific Computation

Please describe specifically the quantitative skills students will learn and apply in the course.

Students will learn graphical methods for exploring distributions and relationships between variables, methods of exploratory data analysis, elementary probability, inferential statistics and both linear and non-linear data modeling. The focus of the course will be on understanding the underlying concepts and interpreting (as opposed to producing) results. Students will interact regularly with the real data sets and learn the principles for constructing and critiquing quantitative arguments for research questions in the life and health sciences.

On what kinds of real-world problems will students use quantitative skills?

Students will be exposed daily to studies and real data sets concerning health, behavior, and scientific/technological discoveries. Topic possibilities include, but are not limited to, DNA evidence in the course, success rates for artificial reproductive technologies as a function of age, factors influencing costs of medical treatment and length of stay, and trends in international quality of life indicators.

Describe typical assignments related to Quantitative Reasoning.

This course will have quizzes, take-home exams and regular hands-on classroom activities that are all focused around data. Quizzes will assess students’ abilities to correctly interpret and apply mathematical or statistical formulas and techniques to small sets of data. Exams will assess students’ abilities to design a strategy for analyzing large data sets and construct a quantitative argument in response to a series of questions around the data. Classroom activities are usually done in small groups and involve data analysis and/or the critique of quantitative arguments from recently published journal articles in health, medical or science-related fields.

Please explain how at least one-half of the course grade is based on content related to Quantitative Reasoning.

The entire course grade is based on activities that involve quantitative reasoning and problem solving (e.g.,quizzes, exams, activities and final exam). A portion of each take-home exam grade (about 20%) is based on the students’ ability to effectively communicate and qualify their findings through a quantitative argument in writing, but the remainder is a direct assessment of their problem-solving work, correct use of statistical software where applicable, and quantitative reasoning skills.

Return to Proposal Tips: Quantitative Reasoning.