People make use of quantitative information on a daily basis. Professional education organizations for mathematics, science, social studies, and geography recommend that students, as early as middle school, have experience collecting, organizing, representing, and interpreting data. However, research on middle school students' statistical thinking is sparse. A cohesive picture of middle school students' statistical thinking is needed to better inform curriculum developers and classroom teachers. The purpose of this study was to develop and validate a framework for characterizing middle school students' thinking across 4 processes: describing data, organizing and reducing data, representing data, and analyzing and interpreting data. The validation process involved interviewing, individually, 12 students across Grades 6 through 8. Results of the study indicate that students progress through 4 levels of thinking within each statistical process. These levels of thinking were consistent with the cognitive levels postulated in a general developmental model by Biggs and Collis (1991).
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The CAUSE Research Group is supported in part by a member initiative grant from the American Statistical Association’s Section on Statistics and Data Science Education