Test Your Quantitative Literacy

These questions come from a survey developed through the W.M. Keck Statistical Literacy Project. It focuses on the use of numbers in every day situations.

1. True or False. If a stock decreases 50 percent and then increases by 50 percent, it will be back to its original value.

2. True or False. If a stock drops from $300 to zero, that is a 300 percent decrease.

3. A company has a 30 percent market share in the Western US and a 10 percent market share in the Eastern US. What is the company's overall market share in the entire US?

Don't forget to send your submissions for the friday quiz to chandlerm@washpost.com.

By Michael Alison Chandler  |  February 6, 2009; 1:16 PM ET  | Category:  Friday Quiz , Math Literacy
Previous: What is Quantitative Literacy? | Next: First Semester Update


1. False. You can see from setting up the equation with X being the stock price: X * 0.5 * 1.5 = X * 0.75 so the stock price will be down 25%.

2. False. 100% decrease.

3. Assuming the Eastern and Western US are the only two regions and are split 50-50, then it's 20%.

Posted by: DCMathTutor | February 6, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

1 False
2 False
3 Who knows? The markets could be wildly different sizes, and their could be other regions.

Posted by: Dremit97 | February 6, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

The issue in education should not be whether people in general are enumerate, but if quantitative literacy should be used as a curriculum, especially at the expense of learning algebra and geometry.

There are many reasons why QL shouldn't replace algebra.

Apart from the ambiguity of open-ended questions. It is nearly impossible for a non-mathematical person to make sense out of correct answers for QL sorts of problems.

Furthermore, the learner gains very little satisfaction from 'understanding' the problem. Its usually considered too hard to understand and the brain turns off.

Unfortunately, for novices even with an expert present, all answers will appear equally correct.

When a student is learning math, it is a bit like learning how to play chess openings. There is enough ambiguity in language to make learning math and algebra a difficult and complex subject. Why make the subject even more difficult with QL?!

Posted by: ajax1992 | February 9, 2009 3:23 AM | Report abuse

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