Group Project: Quantitative Literacy – Data Analysis

Author

Heloisa DaCunha

Criminal Justice

Middlesex Community College

Citation

DaCunha, H. (2014). Group Project: Quantitative Literacy-Data Analysis. Middlesex Community College.

Description

This assignment is used in Introduction to Criminal Justice, about five weeks into the semester when students have been introduced to a number of key concepts in the field, including the national crime rate, sociological factors impacting criminal activity and crime mapping.  It is a group project and requires that students demonstrate computer/information literacy–a challenge since many come without math background or other relevant skills.

Background and Context

This assignment is used in Introduction to Criminal Justice, about five weeks into the semester when students have been introduced to a number of key concepts in the field, including the national crime rate, sociological factors impacting criminal activity and crime mapping.  It is a group project and requires that students demonstrate computer/information literacy–a challenge since many come without math background or other relevant skills.
The assignment  is intended to assess the following criteria with milestone levels between cells 2 and 3 because it is an introductory level course:

– Interpretation

– Calculation

– Application/Analysis

– Assumptions and Communication

Reflections

The majority of students taking this course do major in Criminal Justice; placement into college level English is required but there is no math or computer proficiency/literacy requirement. I have learned from previous years that before I give this as an assignment I must dedicate a portion of the course to calculation, definition, meaning and use of rate; I also spend some time on Microsoft Excel. Usually if a non-Criminal Justice student takes this course the student is in the Liberal Arts program and tends to do better in the course than Criminal Justice students. All students might find it challenging interpreting the crime rate and what the rate means for the field of criminal justice.

I have used this assignment twice, and each time I made a few minor changes to it to adjust students’ understanding of the assignment and to better prepare students to successfully complete what is required of them. I had to break down the assignment and first teach them skills that are required to complete the assignment such as calculating rate and Microsoft excel.

This is a group project and most groups usually produce the results I expected; however each semester there has been at least one group that did not complete the calculations correctly and did not understand what a rate is in terms of this assignment. I have noticed that the math skills for most students taking Introduction to Criminal Justice are very low; however, they have shown critical thinking when discussing and exploring causes of criminal behavior and levels of criminal activity in regard to sociological factors.

I believe that this assignment could also be used in a sociology class such as a class that touches upon the topic of criminology. This assignment could also be used in a basic math course. Criminal Justice students who must take math to graduate would find it interesting to discuss their topic of interest in a math course and be able to relate math to their major.


Please select an option

The assignment library and the assignments within are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. By clicking “Ok” you agree to cite each assignment (including modifications), with the provided citation on the assignments downloaded from this site.


OK
Rubric(s)
  1. Group project – Quantitative literacy – Data Analysis – Grading rubric