quantitative literacy, information literacy, social epistemology


Does a citizen need to possess quantitative literacy in order to make responsible decisions on behalf of the public good? If so, how much is enough? This paper presents an analysis of the quantitative claims made on behalf of ballot measures in order to better delineate the role of quantitative literacy for the citizen. I argue that this role is surprisingly limited due to the contextualized nature of quantitative claims that are encountered outside of a school setting. Instead, rational dependence, or the reasoned dependence on the knowledge of others, is proposed as an educational goal that can supplement quantitative literacy and, in so doing, provide a more realistic plan for informed evaluations of quantitative claims.



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