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DASA Assessment Administers Quantitative Literacy Assessment through Health and Exercise Studies Partnership

This fall, DASA Assessment partnered with faculty in the Department of Health and Exercise Studies to administer a quantitative literacy assessment to first-year students enrolled in their courses. Read on to learn what they found.

By Alison Krowiak

This article is part of a series on NC State’s Pack ProficienciesLearn more about how students develop quantitative literacy competencies at NC State.

This fall, DASA Assessment partnered with faculty in the Department of Health and Exercise Studies (HES) to administer a quantitative literacy assessment to first-year students enrolled in their courses.

Quantitative literacy is one of NC State’s Pack Proficiencies, meaning that students from every major are expected to develop their skills in this area during their undergraduate careers. Quantitative literacy involves the ability to reason and solve numerical problems, understand arguments supported by quantitative evidence, and communicate those arguments in a variety of formats. The other Pack Proficiencies are critical thinking, creative thinking, written communication and oral communication. These competencies are taught in the General Education Program and reinforced throughout the major program.

Why is quantitative literacy assessed in HES classes? 

Each year, DASA Assessment and the Office of Assessment and Accreditation coordinate the assessment of first-year students in the fall, and seniors in the spring. For several years assessment staff have partnered with HES faculty to assess first-year students in their courses. Most NC State students are required to complete at least two HES credits as part of their General Education Program requirements. Beth Wright Fath, department head and teaching professor, described HES as “one of the programs that almost all students have to pass through. We see this as a privilege and a big responsibility.”

HES restricts some course sections to first-year students. According to Fath, the first-year sections are intended to “set new students on a path to complete their general education requirements, and they also support students as they transition to college with a focus on health and wellness.” Assessment staff partner with instructors of these first-year HES classes to assess one general education competency each fall. These classes include first-year students from many colleges and majors, allowing assessment staff to collect competency assessment data that is well representative of the diverse first-year class. 

Assessment’s partnership with HES also highlights the prevalence of the General Education Competencies across all disciplines. As Fath described, “students should be ‘Thinking and Doing’ in all of their classes. The general education competencies, like quantitative literacy and critical thinking, aren’t restricted to the sciences or the humanities. Students will utilize the general education competencies in their HES courses as well.”

Assessment staff invited students enrolled in first-year sections of HES courses to complete the virtual quantitative literacy assessment. The assessment takes less than one hour to complete. Fath stated, “Assessment staff do a good job communicating with students.” Students who completed the assessment were entered for prize drawings for up to $50 in their choice of an Amazon gift card or All Campus Credits on their Wolfpack One Card.

How can faculty partner with assessment staff in support of the Pack Proficiencies?

In spring 2022, NC State assessment staff will administer the quantitative literacy assessment to seniors. High participation is important to ensure a representative sample because NC State faculty and staff will use the data to make decisions in support of student learning. If you will be teaching a majority-senior class in spring 2022 and want to learn how you can have the assessment administered to your students, please contact Samantha Rich at