A quantitative literacy course for Humanities and Law students: the challenges of a context-based curriculum
This article examines some aspects of the effectiveness of a first-year course in quantitative literacy for Humanities and Law students at a South African university. This intervention is necessary to assist students in developing the appropriate quantitative competencies because there is an articulation gap between the quantitative literacy of many first-year students and the demands of their curriculum in this regard. Interventions of this kind should be integrated into the disciplinary curriculum to as great an extent as possible, primarily because quantitative literacy is a practice embedded in the disciplinary practices. Tensions involved in attempting this integration limit the course’s effectiveness and are to a large extent due to the conflicting demands on students of both the disciplinary discourses and the mathematical and statistical content. The intervention could be enhanced by being more explicit in clarifying the distinctions between the disciplinary contexts and the mathematical and statistical content, as well as by making more explicit the expectations in terms of student learning and performance in assessments.