This article examines some aspects of the effectiveness of a first-year course in quantitative literacy
for Humanities and Law students at a South African university. This intervention is necessary to assist
students in developing the appropriate quantitative competencies because there is an articulation gap
between the quantitative literacy of many first-year students and the demands of their curriculum in this
regard. Interventions of this kind should be integrated into the disciplinary curriculum to as great an extent
as possible, primarily because quantitative literacy is a practice embedded in the disciplinary practices.
Tensions involved in attempting this integration limit the course’s effectiveness and are to a large extent
due to the conflicting demands on students of both the disciplinary discourses and the mathematical and
statistical content. The intervention could be enhanced by being more explicit in clarifying the distinctions
between the disciplinary contexts and the mathematical and statistical content, as well as by making more
explicit the expectations in terms of student learning and performance in assessments.