Students Add Up Pluses and Minuses of QR Requirement

Kinks are still being worked out of the system, but students and teaching staff of the four courses that were offered as part of the new Quantitative Reasoning (QR) portion of the Core are declaring the requirement a success.

The classes offered during the sub-field's maiden semester covered topics ranging from health care economics to deductive logic. About 170 students enrolled in the courses.

"I was delighted with my class--it was larger than we expected and there was a wide range of backgrounds," says Benedict H. Gross, Leverett professor of mathematics and instructor for QR 28: "The Magic of Numbers."


"It was lots of fun to teach," says Gross, who also serves as the chair of the Core subcommittee on the QR.

Yet the praise is far from unqualified. Some students complain that the classes are too easy, while some professors say they worry the current QRR offerings do not teach students enough about basic statistics.

The Stats

The QR officially joined the other 10 Core subdivisions this past fall. Starting with the Class of 2003, students cannot satisfy the QR requirement by passing an examination. Instead, all students must fulfill a statistics requirement in the Core before graduating.

First-year students who are already slated to take math or statistics classes are exempt from QR--economics, psychology and most science concentrators will never have to fulfill that part of the Core.

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