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Quantitative Reasoning Flag Criteria and Interpretation

Criterion

The following criterion was developed and approved by the Faculty Council.

To satisfy the Quantitative Reasoning Flag, at least half of the course grade* must be based on the use of quantitative skills (e.g., data analysis and modeling, simulation, statistics, probability, and quantitative decision analysis) to analyze real-world problems.

*For three- or four-credit courses. For two-credit hour courses, 100% of the course grade should be based on Flag content.

Interpretation

The following interpretation was developed by the faculty committee that oversees the Quantitative Reasoning Flag and was approved by the Undergraduate Studies Advisory Committee.

Much of our current understanding of the world involves arguments with a quantitative component. The Quantitative Reasoning Flag reflects the perspective that an educated person of the 21st century should be able to construct and critically evaluate a quantitative argument or model. The Quantitative Reasoning Flag challenges the UT community to help our students include quantitative reasoning as part of how they understand the world with nuance and precision. The goal is for students to learn how to use logical, numerical, and/or statistical arguments and models and to understand the reasoning behind them. We require more than a superficial application of statistical equations or mathematical relationships, striving to have our students understand their underlying reasoning.

The committee is supportive of Quantitative Reasoning being taught across the curriculum, not just in traditionally quantitative disciplines. Classes will be evaluated along two dimensions: quantitative rigor and sophistication, and real world application and contextualization. The committee is aware that the balance between these two dimensions will vary from course to course, but in all cases, courses carrying the flag must:

  • teach students logical, numerical and/or statistical skills at a level of rigor appropriate for UT Austin; and
  • emphasize how these skills can be applied in students’ everyday or professional lives.

To see examples of successful proposals from a variety of colleges and schools, visit Sample Proposals.

The faculty committee that oversees the Quantitative Reasoning Flag has also developed a set of learning objectives, or goals for what students will learn to do in these courses. These learning objectives can be adapted to your course and help communicate course structure and goals to your students.