Why Measure Quantitative Reasoning (Numeracy)

The importance of quantitative reasoning skills (numeracy)

Numeracy is simply the application of critical thinking skills like, analysis and interpretation, along with mathematical basics, like algebra, to quantitative information.

Numeracy refers to the ability to solve quantitative reasoning problems, or to making judgments derived from quantitative reasoning in a variety of contexts. It is more than being able to compute or calculate a solution to a mathematical equation.  Numeracy includes understanding how quantitative information is gathered, represented, and correctly interpreted using graphs, charts, tables and diagrams.

A person with strong numeracy skills can apply his or her knowledge of numbers, arithmetic, algebraic relationships, geometric relationships, and mathematical techniques to situations that require the interpretation or evaluation of quantitative information.

The person with strong numeracy skills is able to recognize and use quantitative information, patterns, ratios, percentages, spatial relationships, and statistical information intelligently and correctly when drawing conclusions, making estimates, explaining or predicting events or behavior.

Quantitative reasoning and critical thinking skills

Numeracy skills can be thought of as the application of analysis, inference, interpretation, explanation, evaluation, as well as reflection on one’s own reasoning process (metacognition) to numerical and spatial information and relationships.

Numeracy is essential in our data-driven world, if one hopes to be successful in the workplace, to achieve academically, to be engaged citizens, and to make thoughtful and well supported decisions in any domain of life that admits of the relevance of quantitative information.

Numeracy is important for everyone

Our lives are flooded by numerical data. From political polling data to the stats on the sports pages; from the economic news about stocks and interest rates; to the impact on our lives of the price of gas and food; we are awash in numerical data.

Children, adolescents and adults alike need to be able to think critically about the mathematical and numerical information that surrounds them in the media, on the Internet, in schools and workplaces, and in society at large.

Technical, mathematical and quantitative reasoning skills are in high demand today.  Businesses and schools increasingly need data about the numeracy skills of students and candidates for admissions, hiring, cohort analysis, and evaluation of the effectiveness of training programs.


Strong numeracy skills distinguish successful business executives, managers, health care professionals, engineers, architects, scientists, real estate agents, sales professionals, financial analysts, and policy makers.

Professionals in every field know that key decisions often depend on a thorough weighing of costs and benefits, accurate projections of likely outcomes, and the ability to interpret correctly the complex numerical relationships represented in tables, charts, graphs, blueprints, or diagrams.


Scholars and educators have consistently argued that numeracy rivals reading literacy and language fluency in its importance for learning and for life.” Dr. Gittens notes that “numerically literate individuals understand the social and pragmatic function of mathematics and have the ability to reason about mathematical information.”

The development of numeracy skills, like critical thinking skills, begins in childhood.  Australia has identified numeracy as a national educational goal. In the United States, the Common Core Standards locates critical thinking about math as a central learning outcome at all grade levels.

Assessing critical thinking and quantitative reasoning skills

Given the central importance of numeracy, Insight Assessment is proud to offer a full suite of assessments that report scores on quantitative reasoning and critical thinking:

Assessments for students include:

Assessments for employees

INSIGHT assessments calibrated to measure thinking and quantitative reasoning skills for employees and job candidates include:

Insight Assessment reports provide comprehensive objective data about individual and group strength and weakness in multiple core aspects of strength in reasoning skills and mindset. Our assessments are used globally for admissions, accreditation, hiring and professional development.

Contact us today. Insight Assessment can help you objectively measure quantitative reasoning and critical thinking skills online with a single instrument.

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