Practice of statistics at school: what does evaluating evidence look like in the classroom?

Jane Watson (University of Tasmania)


The ASA GAISE Report for school outlines the practice of statistics (or statistical problem solving!) as appropriate at the school level. It also gives examples. But what actually happens in the classroom? This talk will introduce the Big Ideas underlying the practice of statistics at school and give some examples of Australian research in classrooms and the associated outcomes. In the classroom we want students to think like statisticians but of course they do not have the tools that statisticians have for evaluating the evidence arising from the data they collect. Three activities will be presented from Australian research. In Grade 3 students were introduced to the Big Idea of Variation through comparing a hand-made product with a manufactured one. In Grade 5, a different cohort of students carried out the practice of statistics by exploring the question, “Are we environmentally friendly?”. They first answered the question for their class, then sampled from a “population” of Australian Grade 6 students. In Grade 10, a class was introduced to TinkerPlots and Resampling to collect and evaluate evidence about a difference in two groups and a relationship in a two-way table.