Document Type



Improving college students' quantitative reasoning is crucial to increase STEM-field retention rates. The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), results indicate that "college students don't always get exposure to activities that develop [quantitative reasoning]" (Berrett & Sander, 2013). This study aimed to engage college students in quantitative reasoning through critical-thinking games. Phase 1, conducted in summer 2014 with a university research grant, involved a correlation analysis of the work of 133 college students enrolled in Elementary Statistics I, Chemical Principles II, Elements of Calculus, Pre-Calculus with Trigonometry, Multivariable Calculus, and Differential Equations. Participants held a variety of 39 different majors, with each college at the university represented. Results showed a positive correlation between students' performance in games involving critical-thinking skills and their performance in a mathematics-based course. The strongest correlation was between a card game's scores and mathematics-based course grades (r=0.549). Phase 2, extends the research with a more focused study on the use of this card game in regard to math performance. This phase includes 18 students, all of whom are taking the same course, Calculus I, with the same professor, in order to eliminate extraneous variables. The students are taking a pre and post logic-test and playing ten minutes of the card game once a week. Data will be gathered until November 2014 and will be analyzed by Hypothesis Testing using computer analysis software. The research also includes analysis of patterns of error that correspond to the eight standards for mathematical practice outlined in the common core.



Thesis Comittee

Annela Kelly (Thesis Director)

Matthew Salomone

Uma Shama

Copyright and Permissions

Original document was submitted as an Honors Program requirement. Copyright is held by the author.