by Rick Gillman

At its January (2004) meeting, the Board of Governors approved the formation of SIGMAA QL, the special interest group for Quantitative Literacy.

Quantitative literacy (QL) can be described as the ability to adequately use elementary mathematical tools to interpret and manipulate quantitative data and ideas that arise in an individual’s private, civic, and work life. Like reading and writing literacy, quantitative literacy is a habit of mind that is best formed by exposure in many contexts.

While developing a quantitatively literate citizenry is the responsibility of a much larger community, it is the obligation of the collegiate level mathematics community to take leadership in:

The purpose of this SIGMAA is to provide a structure within the mathematics community to achieve these goals. It will achieve this by:

In addition, the leadership of SIGMAA QL will be coordinating its activities with the many other groups, both internal and external to the MAA. Internally, these groups include the CUPM and its various subcommittees and other SIGMAAs which have an interest in this area. Externally, the SIGMAA will be interacting with the NCTM, AMATYC, and the National Numeracy Network.

The initial leadership for SIGMAA QL included Judy Moran (Trinity College) as Chair, Caren Diefenderfer (Hollins University) as Chair-elect, John Bukowski (Juniata College) as secretary-treasurer, and Matt DeLong (Taylor University ) as webmaster. The SIGMAA held its first electronic election for new officers in November, 2004, with the new officers taking their office in January of 2005.

SIGMAA QL held its first business meeting and sponsored an invited speaker at the Joint Mathematics Meetings held in Atlanta in January 2005. In addition, the SIGMAA hosted an informal gathering of interested individuals at Mathfest in Providence in August, 2004.

The SIGMAA QL continues this tradition of holding business meetings, inviting speakers, and sponsoring sessions at both the Joint Mathematics Meeting and Mathfest. The SIGMAA has become a valued resource for those teaching quantitative literacy and those considering adding such a course.