Quantitative & Symbolic Reasoning Center

Ben Smith, Director, QSR Center

Quantitative Literacy is:

"The Ability to identify, understand and use quantitative arguments in everyday contexts.  Quantitative literacy describes a habit of mind rather than a set of topics or a list of skills." (Deborah Hughes-Hallett)

The Quantitative & Symbolic Reasoning Requirement

For students in the Class of 2014 and later:  Hamilton expects that every student will demonstrate facility in quantitative and symbolic reasoning by completing one or more courses in at least one of the following three categories:
  1. Statistical Analysis.  The use of statistical analysis to describe data and to make inferences.
  2. Mathematical Representation.  The use of mathematical models such as those based on graphs, equations and geometric objects to represent patterns, relationships and forms.
  3. Logic and Symbolic Reasoning.  The use of formal logic or symbolic reasoning such as in the following examples:  the proper construction of a computer program or a formal proof; the analysis of language in linguistics; or the study of music theory.

Courses across the curriculum that fulfill this requirement are described as Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning (QSR) courses under Courses of Instruction.  They are also listed online in Web Advisor and in the printed course schedule booklet distributed before each registration period.  The College offers tutoring in the area of quantitative and symbolic reasoning through the Quantitative & Symbolic Reasoning (QSR) Center and the Peer Tutoring Program.  

This requirement should be fulfilled by the end of the second year at Hamilton College.
When you meet with your academic advisor during Orientation, be sure to discuss your plans for fulfilling the QSR Requirement.

If you have questions about the Quantitative Literacy Requirement or about the Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning Requirement, contact the director of the QLit. Center.

The Quantitative Literacy Requirement

Each student up to the Class of 2013 must demonstrate basic quantitative literacy by passing the quantitative skills examination, or by passing a course having a significant quantitative/mathematical component, or by completing a non-credit-bearing tutorial through the Quantitative Literacy Center.

Students who wish to take the QSkills Exam to fulfill the requirement may contact the Director of the QSR Center to arrange to take the exam. The quantitative skills examination tests basic mathematical and quantitative knowledge, including computation, algebra, analysis of graphs and charts, and probability.  

Those who wish to take a course to fulfill the requirement should check Web Advisor for a current list.  The list of courses is also available in a course schedule booklet distributed by the Registrar before registration.  Tutorial help for students taking quantitative courses is available at the Quantitative & Symbolic Reasoning Center and through the Peer Tutoring Program.

The Quantitative & Symbolic Reasoning (QSR) Center offers a ten session (non-credit-bearing) Quantitative Literacy Tutorial facilitated by peer tutors.  Completion of this tutorial during either semester is one way to fulfill the Quantitative Literacy Requirement. The non-credit-bearing tutorial contains four modules: Basic Computation, Algebraic Expression, Graphs and Charts, and Proportional and Functional Reasoning. Students meet weekly with their tutors to prepare to take a final module exam.  Participation in tutorials and the exam score are taken into consideration for the fulfillment of the requirement. 

Students who elect to take the non-credit-bearing tutorial attend a meeting at the beginning of the semester to learn about the tutorials and to sign up for meeting times. Tutorials are scheduled throughout the week, depending on the tutors' schedules, and run for about ten weeks.  Tutors make every effort to accommodate your needs.
When you complete the tutorial, pass the exam, and review the results with a tutor, you have fulfilled the Quantitative Literacy Requirement.

This requirement should be fulfilled by the end of the second year at Hamilton College.