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Infusing Quantitative Literacy throughout the Social Science Curriculum

a PSC Research Project

Investigators:   William H. Frey, George C. Alter, Lynette Hoelter

This project will increase quantitative literacy in the social sciences by creating, disseminating, and assessing teaching materials that integrate data analysis throughout the undergraduate curriculum. We will build upon the successful strategy of the Social Science Data Analysis Network (SSDAN), which distributes teaching modules based on U.S. Census data, and the resources of the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), the world’s oldest and largest social science data archive.

1. We will create new learning materials based on the most recent and most powerful data sources in the social sciences. New software and strategies will be developed to simplify complex data for presentation to undergraduates. Tools for assessing student learning will be integrated into existing and new teaching materials.

2. We will create in-person workshops, web-based seminars, and on-line tutorials to train faculty in characteristics of new datasets, relevant statistical techniques, teaching strategies, and assessment procedures.

3. We will use the communication resources of the American Sociological Association, the American Political Science Association, the National Numeracy Network, and the more than 600 colleges, universities, and research institutions who are members of ICPSR to disseminate information about new teaching materials. Web-sites will be enhanced to help faculty form teaching communities within disciplines.

4. We will recruit faculty with experience using SSDAN teaching materials to conduct assessments of student learning and improve assessment tools.

5. We will collect and analyze assessments of student learning to improve teaching materials and identify best practices. Surveys of SSDAN users will investigate the factors affecting the adoption of data-driven teaching materials in classes.

Funding Period: 09/01/2008 to 08/31/2014

Country of Focus: USA

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