eCOTS 2014 - Breakout Session #7

"When Mathematics and Statistics Collide in Assessment Tasks"
Anna Bargagliotti, Loyola Marymount University; & Randall Groth, Salisbury University


Assessment is an integral part of gauging learners' understanding. In light of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) including a large amount of statistics content at the middle and high school grades, it is particularly important that teachers be able to answer and write statistical assessments that elicit statistical thinking. We will illustrate that writing assessment tasks in the content domain of statistics is particularly difficult due to the tendency of learners to rely on mathematical thinking instead of statistical thinking. The disciplines of mathematics and statistics have a complex relationship with one another since statistics makes heavy use of mathematics. When writing an assessment, one must pay particular attention to the mathematical ideas that might come up in a learners' thinking while completing the assessments. As part of this session, we will show examples of assessments given to teachers that seemingly would draw out statistical reasoning but instead mathematical reasoning unintentionally takes attention away from the statistics. Participants will work through a sample assessment and identify potential mathematical themes that may arise.



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Marc Isaacson:

Very interesting / thought provoking presentation! I especially like the highlighting of the issue of definitions (defining strictness) in your last example. I think this is one very overlooked issue especially for students learning to be statistically literate in reading the work of others. We teach students to do various calculations with data but not question too deeply the definitions or method of measurement which are an important part of the process of "Where do statistics come from?"