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Journal Article

  • The purpose of this study was to investigate teachers’ subject matter knowledge relevant to the teaching of informal line of best fit. Task-based interviews were conducted with nineteen preservice and in-service mathematics teachers. The results include descriptions and categorizations of teachers’ conceptions, criteria for placement, accuracy of placement, and interpretation of the informal line of best fit. Implications regarding teacher preparation for the teaching of this topic, including current status and recommendations for future preparation, are discussed.

  • This paper presents a comparative analysis of statistics education research in Malaysia and the Philippines by modes of dissemination, research areas, and trends. An electronic search for published research papers in the area of statistics education from 2000–2012 yielded 20 for Malaysia and 19 for the Philippines. Analysis of these papers showed that most were primarily empirical research published in national refereed journals or in conference proceedings. Statistics education research in Malaysia has focused on integration of technology and on affective aspects of statistics learning. In the Philippines, studies have investigated university-level statistics pedagogy, statistics academic programs and teachers’ professional development. Implications for future statistics education research and teaching practice in these two countries are identified.

  • This study presents the results of the analysis of a group of teacher-made test questions for statistics courses at the university level. Teachers were asked to submit tests they had used in their previous two semesters. Ninety-seven tests containing 978 questions were gathered and classified according to the SOLO taxonomy (Biggs & Collis, 1982) and to the definitions of statistical literacy, statistical reasoning and statistical thinking (delMas, Ooms, Garfield & Chance, 2007). Results suggest a strong preference for questions that address the evaluation of cognitive abilities in the lower levels of the taxonomies used. Reflections as to the implications of these results for the teaching and evaluation of statistics courses are presented.

  • For many years, students have been taught to visualize data by drawing graphs. Recently, there has been a growing trend to teach statistics, particularly statistical concepts, using interactive and dynamic visualization tools. Free downloadable teaching and simulation software designed specifically for schools, and more general data visualization tools are increasingly being used in New Zealand classrooms. This paper discusses four examples: the use of GenStat for Teaching and Learning Schools and Undergraduate (GTL); Auckland University’s insight and VIT (Visual Inference Tools) for teaching bootstrapping and randomization; the CAST e-books, and the use of data visualization tools to assist learning concepts in official statistics. All these tools are publically available and several are already being used internationally.

  • This paper aims to reflect on the teaching of statistics through student research, in the form of projects carried out by students on self-selected topics. The paper reports on a study carried out with two undergraduate classes using a methodology of teaching that we call ‘learning projects’. Monitoring the development of the various stages of the learning projects allowed continuous adjustment of the process and provided an insight into the benefits and limitations of this approach. Important aspects included the complexity of the group relationships, the importance of choosing the topic of the research, data collection and time management. Students carried out an evaluation of the process, and the resulting information was analysed using quantitative and qualitative approaches.

  • This article focuses on the notion of literacy – general and statistical – in the analysis of data from a fieldwork research project carried out as part of a master’s degree that investigated the teaching and learning of statistics in adult education mathematics classes. We describe the statistical context of the project that involved the development of a questionnaire, the organization of the resulting information into tables, and the preparation of posters summarizing the results. The project was carried out with 7th-grade students, ages from 16 to 43, in a public state elementary school as part of the Youth and Adult Education program (Educação de Jovens e Adultos - EJA), located on the outskirts of Campinas, State of São Paulo, Brazil.

  • The objective of this paper is to discuss how blind students learn basic concepts of probability using the tactile model proposed by Vita (2012). Among the activities were part of the teaching sequence ‘Jefferson’s Random Walk’, in which students built a tree diagram (using plastic trays, foam cards, and toys), and pictograms in 3D (using the toys) to represent the possible ways in which Jefferson can visits his five friends and the expected frequencies of visits. The analysis of students’ answers was based on the SOLO taxonomy, and developed from initial prestructural responses to final responses that were classified at the relational level. The study suggests adaptations of materials and teaching methods for helping blind students to learn about probability.

  • The objective of this paper is to discuss aspects of high school students’ learning of probability in a context where they are supported by the statistical software R. We report on the application of a teaching experiment, constructed using the perspective of Gal’s probabilistic literacy and Papert’s constructionism. The results show improvement in students’ learning of basic concepts, such as: random experiment, estimation of probabilities, and calculation of probabilities using a tree diagram. The use of R allowed students to extend their reasoning beyond that developed from paper-and-pencil approaches, since it made it possible for them to work with a larger number of simulations, and go beyond the standard equiprobability assumption in coin tosses.

  • This study examined the role of gender and grade level on middle school students’ statistical literacy. The study was conducted in the spring semester of the 2012-2013 academic year with 598 middle-school students (grades 6–8) from three public schools in Turkey. The data were collected using the Statistical Literacy Test, developed based on Watson’s (1997) statistical literacy framework. Two-way ANOVA results revealed no significant grade level differences although female students performed significantly better than male students. The spiral curriculum in middle school mathematics may explain the lack of differences between grades. The higher performance of female students may be related to the linguistic aspects of statistical literacy, in contrast to the situation in school mathematics.

  • Although we use statistical notions daily in making decisions, research in statistics education has focused mostly on formal statistics. Further, everyday culture may influence informal ideas of statistics. Yet, there appears to be minimal literature that deals with the educational implications of the role of culture. This paper will discuss the interaction between statistical cognition and culture, reporting on the effects of culture on secondary students’ statistical ideas. It will draw on examples from my work and that of a few others who have studied cultural influences on statistical ideas to explain how statistics is tied to cultural practices. The paper will consider the issues arising out of the literature and offer suggestions for meeting the challenges.