Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


College of Science and Mathematics


Mathematical Sciences

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Kenneth C. Wolff

Committee Member

Helen M. Roberts

Committee Member

Suzanne S. McCotter


The past twenty years have seen a growing interest in promoting quantitative literacy (QL) courses at the college level. At small institutions, financial realities impose limitations on faculty size and therefore the variety of courses that may be offered. This study examined course offerings below calculus at four hundred twenty-eight small colleges to gain a thorough understanding of the approaches to developing QL among the general population of undergraduate students. Using a three-phase model of examining progressively narrower subsets of QL programs at small institutions, document-based data from college catalogs and communication with mathematics program chairs were studied to summarize the most common approaches to QL, and to provide narrative descriptions of courses and programs most consistent with the recommendations of the Mathematical Association of America. The analysis of the data includes information on actual curricula and enrollments, and uses qualitative techniques to provide descriptions of successful courses and programs. Through this analysis, variables important in developing effective QL courses and programs at the undergraduate level were identified. The support of both the mathematics department and an institution’s administration were determined to be necessary factors in successful QL programs. Other factors contributing to program or course success were the individual efforts of faculty members in teaching QL courses, and the development of print-based materials conducive to effective QL instruction. Finally, the study provides recommendations for developing resources to support instruction and suggests future research to promote the development of the growing body of knowledge surrounding efforts to teach quantitative reasoning within the general education curriculum.