Today, educators across the nation are faced with a very difficult task many teachers didn’t have to navigate decades ago: Understanding how to teach while living in the digital age. Technology and social media make it very easy to access information at your disposal, right in the palm of your hands. While this may be beneficial in most instances, it can also be disadvantageous without knowing how to maneuver between real and fake news stories. That’s why quantitative reasoning is an undeniable critical aspect for educators who are teaching with the news.
What is quantitative reasoning?
According to the Association of American Colleges & Universities, quantitative reasoning is identified as the “application of basic mathematics skills, such as algebra, to the analysis and interpretation of real-world quantitative information in the context of a discipline or an interdisciplinary problem to draw conclusions that are relevant to students in their daily lives.”
In simpler terms, it’s about analyzing information and making better-informed decisions based on such data. It’s applying mathematical facts to real-world situations and using that quantitative information to solve the issue or come up with a reasonable conclusion.
Teaching quantitative reasoning with the news
In higher education, teachers and administrators are responsible for using student information and data to track and predict performance and overall success rates. With quantitative reasoning, this is made possible.
In terms of teaching with the news, stories and reports we see pop up in our notifications can be considered valuable collateral to involve in a lesson plan, enabling students and teachers alike to engage with current events. Without quantitative reasoning, however, navigating fake news from the real thing becomes a challenge.
Take a presidential election, for example. While the popular vote shows us who the majority of the country favored, the electoral college ultimately decides the next president, as explained by The Associated Press. Doing the math and analyzing how many electoral votes a candidate ends up with on the road to 270 — the cap number — allows us to understand who wins the election overall. Fake news has often played a part in more recent presidential elections, but it all comes down to those credible numbers. Evaluating quantitative information allows the general public to make the best-informed decision on the end result based on the information derived from credible sources.
How to support teachers with this difficult task
Now, more than ever, students are attached to their phones and have unlimited access to information — whether real or fake news — at any given moment. Educators must understand how to teach media literacy and show students how to gather evidence and information to make a reasonable decision about whether or not news stories are credible or fabricated.
Teachers who have access to the right resources can better provide students with the information they need to learn right from wrong in terms of sources. Using market intelligence to support educators and provide school performance data can help these educators understand whether the way they’re teaching with the news is proving to be successful, or if they need to reevaluate their approach on quantitative reasoning in the classroom.
At Agile, gaining access to valuable data and using quantitative reasoning to understand it can help your organization connect data points and make well-informed decisions about a school or district.
From market intelligence and data integration to optimized engagement, data analysis and other services, Agile can support your organization and help you curate a database that meets the wants and needs of educators and other customer-facing teams. To learn more, reach out to our experts today.