Quantitative Literacy Program


The Mathematics Center at Trinity College was established in 1987 with a grant from the Ætna Life and Casualty Foundation, in part to administer Trinity’s Quantitative Literacy Requirement. The Center is not part of the Math Department, and the Quantitative Literacy Program at Trinity is essentially distinct from the department program.


The primary functions of the Math Center are:

        •administers Trinity’s Quantitative Literacy Requirement, including assessing and tracking the proficiency of each     incoming student.

        • provides half and full semester QL courses taught by Math Center faculty. All courses stress the transferring of mathematical skills and attitudes in the service of problem solving and anchor quantitative ways of analyzing and solving problems in contexts using Hartford data.

        •operates as a math resource for the College. In this capacity, Math Center faculty have created labs for courses including Colonialism in the Americas, Dante’s Divine Comedy, Introduction to Classical Art and Archaeology, Women's Activism, and Medical Ethics as well as specialized modules for courses such as Venetian Journeys,  Astronomy, The Interdisciplinary Science Seminar, and the tutorial college.

       • participating in outreach and grant programs with other departments and programs. Judith Moran has given lectures at the Greater Hartford Academy of Math and Science, Cathleen Zucco-Teveloff has served as consultant to the Trinity College-Hartford Magnet Academic Mentoring Program. Judith Moran has developed a community service course under a grant from Trinity’s CLI program, and Cathleen Zucco-Teveloff has been awarded a CTW Mellon grant for Information Literacy to develop eight web-based modules and integrate them into the Math 101 curriculum.

      • offers other Quantitative Literacy and Math courses such as MATH 116 Mathematics of Equity, MATH 117 Visually Displaying Data: Graphical Literacy, the First Year Seminar Fallacies for Fun and Profit, MATH 123 Mathematics of Patterns, MATH 123a Mathematics in Art and Architecture, and an interdisciplinary QL/Science course, COLL 155 Skepticism and Belief.

      • sponsoring the extension of quantitative thinking across the curriculum through course development grants funded jointly by the Dean of Faculty and a grant from the National Council on Education in the Disciplines at the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. Courses funded include INTS302 Adjustment and Transition: The Political Economy of Sub-Saharan Africa; GEOS112L Introduction to Earth Science; ENVS149 Introduction to Environmental Science; and HIST305.Math, Disease, Race and Colonialism in the Americas; COLL125 Introduction to Health and Human Rights; SOC 344 World Population; PBPL201 Introduction to American Public Policy; “Math as Music, Music as Math,” curriculum project for the Tutorial College; and FYFO120 Foundations of Modern Science, a course for the First Year Focus Program.  The grant provided funds for Center faculty to help non-math faculty enrich the quantitative content of their courses.

      • offering tutoring hours most afternoons and evenings, when students may obtain help from peer tutors on quantitative problems or on standardized test preparation,

      • serves as a national model of a QL center. Trinity is one of six sites in the National Numeracy Network, a non-profit organization founded to encourage the participation of business, government and education in the furthering of QL. The Center is currently participating in a small grant with other NNN sites to determine the quantitative needs of departments on campus and develop prototypes of QL assessment instruments. We are also involved in regional QL initiatives, twice hosting the annual meeting of the New England Consortium of Quantitative Literacy, an organization representing several dozen colleges in the northeast and founded at Trinity in 1997.


Quantitative Literacy Requirement

The Quantitative Literacy Requirement is administered solely by the Math Center. The quantitative literacy of incoming students is determined by a test given to every incoming student each fall as part of the new student orientation program. The skills and concepts tested are grouped into four areas: Numerical Relationships, Statistical Relationships, Algebraic Relationships, and Logical Relationships, corresponding to Trinity’s four basic QL courses.

A student can satisfy the requirement by

1) passing the QL exam,
2) passing the QL course assigned as a result of the score on the exam,
3) in cases where the student passed two or three of the four sections of the test,
taking a regular math course (such as MATH 107 Statistics) at Trinity.

In all cases, the requirement must be met at Trinity. Courses taken off campus cannot be used to fulfill the requirement, which must be met before a student begins the junior year or before a student may study abroad.

The skills and concepts tested are grouped into four areas:

Numerical Relationships

Statistical Relationships

Algebraic Relationships

Logical Relationships,

corresponding to Trinity’s four Quantitative Literacy courses:

            Math 101, Contemporary Applications: Math for the 21st Century

            Math 102, Cityscape: Analyzing Urban Data

            Math 103, Earth Algebra: Modeling our Environment

            Math 104, Hartford Current Issues: Logic in the Media.


All the courses offered by the Math Center stress the transferring of mathematical skills and attitudes in the service of problem solving and anchor quantitative ways of analyzing and solving problems in contexts using Hartford data.

Course Substitutes