"LOCUS as a Tool to Measure Teachers' Preparation to Teach Statistics"
Catherine Case, Douglas Whitaker, Steven Foti, & Tim Jacobbe; University of Florida
The release and widespread adoption of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) have dramatically increased the expectations for teaching statistics in grades 6 through 12. The development of many standards for teaching statistics was based on the American Statistical Association's Guidelines for Assessment and Instruction of Statistics Education (GAISE) (Franklin, Kader, Mewborn, Moreno, Peck, Perry, & Scheaffer, 2007). Since statistics is an area of challenge for many K-12 teachers (Franklin & Kader, 2010), these higher expectations demand targeted preparation for both pre-service and in-service teachers.
In response to the CCSS, the Mathematics Education of Teachers 2 (MET2) recommends that all pre-service middle and high school teachers take a statistics course in addition to introductory statistics; the document also advises that theoretically-oriented courses aimed toward STEM majors may not sufficiently prepare teachers to teach statistics as outlined in the CCSS (CBMS, 2012). Further, MET2 calls for professional development to strengthen mathematical knowledge of in-service teachers, particularly in areas such as statistics where teachers trained before the CCSS are likely to be inadequately prepared. Franklin and Kader (2010) emphasize that successful teaching of statistics requires understanding of statistical concepts across grade levels; that is, preparation of both middle and high school teachers should span the three developmental levels defined in the GAISE framework and the statistics standards at various grade levels in the CCSS.
As courses aimed at preparing teachers of statistics are being created or revamped in response to the CCSS, an assessment tool is needed to assess teachers' current statistical content knowledge and to evaluate the impact of instruction. The NSF-funded (DRL-1118168) Levels of Conceptual Understanding in Statistics (LOCUS) project has developed assessments aligned with the CCSS and the GAISE framework that can be used as a formative assessment or as a research tool to these ends. This poster will introduce teacher educators and instructors to the LOCUS assessments and demonstrate their potential use as a measure of teachers' and students' content knowledge of statistics as articulated in the GAISE framework and the CCSS. Sample items will be presented to illustrate the features of the LOCUS assessments especially well-suited for this purpose; in particular, the LOCUS assessments measure conceptual not just procedural knowledge and attend to the important distinctions between mathematics and statistics.
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