Quantitative Reasoning for College Science (QuaRCS) Study

Administering the Assessment

Administering the Assessment

Information for Instructors

The Quantitative Reasoning for College Science study is an Institutional Review Board (IRB) approved study designed to investigate whether and to what extent quantitative skills and attitudes toward mathematics can be improved through a semester of introductory undergraduate science instruction. The QuaRCS seeks to measure student skills in the following ten areas of quantitative reasoning: graph reading, table reading, arithmetic, proportional reasoning, estimation, percentages, statistics/probability, area/volume, error, and unit conversions/dimensional analysis. It also probes students’ attitudes toward mathematics and the role of quantitative information in science. The assessment includes a short series of demographic and academic background questions.

Details about the development and validation of the QuaRCS can be found in the following article.

If you are an instructor of an intro science course for non-majors, we would love to have you and your class participate! Whether or not you currently emphasize quantitative skills in your classroom, your participation is valuable.

The QuaRCS is non-proprietary and freely available to all instructors. However, we strongly encourage your participation in our national study should you choose to administer it in your course(s), both for the sake of research and for the additional analysis our lab provides Instructors taking part in the national study will receive:

  1. Access to our online assessment interface. We will administer the instrument for you. You simply assign the link.
  2. Customized participant lists and score/attitude reports after each assessment. We will do all of the grading for you and conglomerate the results into a report.
  3. Reports on improvements in student attitudes and skills from pre to post semester. We can help you quantify how your course influences students’ quantitative skills and attitudes toward mathematics.

In return, we ask simply that you:

  1. Connect us with the Human Subjects coordinators at your school so that we can obtain site authorization.
  2. Assign your students the online survey instrument during the first few weeks of the semester, either for participation credit or for extra credit (participation credit is recommended).
  3. Assign the survey again during the last month of the semester.
  4. Complete the end-of-semester instructor survey. Funding allowing, we offer a small gift card incentive.

We are also always happy to provide support, assistance, and our own curricular materials to encourage quantitative literacy in your classroom.

To sign up to administer the QuaRCS to your students, begin by completing the instructor intake form.

For more information, check out our FAQ or reach out to our team directly at quarcs@amherst.edu