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  • Goal 1: Critical Thinking and Quantitative Literacy

General Education Goal 1

Build core skills of critical thinking and quantitative literacy

Developing the capacity for critical and quantitative reasoning helps students gather and evaluate information, raise relevant questions, build sound arguments, weigh alternative evidence and reasoning, generate and test hypotheses, compare and interpret texts, and become rigorous, versatile, and agile thinkers. With the ability to make informed choices, the experience of applying standards of evidence and principles of logic, and the confidence to question assumptions (their own and those of others), students will be better prepared to understand diverse perspectives, adapt to challenging situations, and perform effectively in society.

Critical Thinking and
Quantitative Literacy

Requires two units, one meeting criteria associated with learning outcome no. 1 and one meeting criteria associated with learning outcome no. 2.


Learning Outcome 1:

Upon reaching this goal, students will be able to analyze and evaluate assumptions, claims, evidence, arguments, and forms of expression; select and apply appropriate interpretive tools.

Criteria for this Learning Outcome

Students can meet this learning outcome through coursework, through an approved educational experience, or by completing an independent research project.

Courses or educational experiences that meet this outcome must achieve all of the following:

  1. Focus substantially on critical thinking as stated in the learning outcome.
  2. Include assignments, projects, and/or tests that require students to:
    1. Form judgments about the assumptions or claims presented.
    2. Analyze and synthesize information.
    3. Make evidence-based arguments to support conclusions.
  3. Evaluate student performance in the tasks above, and use this evaluation for at least 60% of the final course grade.

Satisfying this outcome through a workplace or research experience must meet the following criteria:

  1. Enroll in a special topics or undergraduate research course as designated by the student’s degree program (either for credit or not).
  2. Submit a report documenting how the experience meets the first two criteria above. The report must be submitted within a semester of project completion, and must be accompanied by a letter of support from the student’s faculty or professional mentor.

Example Evaluation Rubric (144 KB)


Learning Outcome 2:

Upon reaching this goal, students will be able to define a problem, analyze numerical information, apply mathematical principles, and integrate quantitative methods into problem solving.

Criteria for this Learning Outcome

Students can meet this learning outcome through course-based instruction.

Courses that meet this outcome must achieve all of the following:

  1. Focus on solving problems using functions and numerical techniques.
  2. Require students to apply mathematical or statistical principles to organize or process numerical information.
  3. Require students to use specific quantitative methods to solve problems, and choose appropriate methods for given problems.
  4. Evaluate student performance in the tasks above and use this evaluation for a supermajority of the final course grade.

Example Evaluation Rubric (141 KB)


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