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Quantitative Literacy and Reasoning of Freshman Students with Different Senior High School Academic Background Pursuing STEM-Related Programs

Nick W.

Abstract: This paper investigates the quantitative literacy and reasoning (QLR) of freshmen students pursuing a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)–related degree but do not necessarily have a Senior High School (SHS) STEM background. QLR is described as a multi-faceted skill focused on the application of Mathematics and Statistics rather than just a mere mastery of the content domains of these fields. This article compares the QLR performance between STEM and non-STEM SHS graduates. Further, this quantitative-correlational study involves 255 freshman students, of which 115 have non-STEM academic background from the SHS. Results reveal that students with a SHS STEM background had significantly higher QLR performance. Nevertheless, this difference does not cloud the fact that their overall QLR performance marks the lowest when compared to results of similar studies. This paper also shows whether achievement in SHS courses such as General Mathematics, and Statistics and Probability are significant predictors of QLR. Multivariate regression analysis discloses that achievement in the latter significantly relates to QLR. However, the low coefficient of determination (10.30%) suggests that achievement in these courses alone does not account to the students’ QLR. As supported by a deeper investigation of the students’ answers, it is concluded that QLR indeed involves complex processes and is more than just being proficient in Mathematics and Statistics.

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