Expanding Opportunities for Underprepared Statistics Students

Alana Unfried (California State University - Monterey Bay)


As educators, are there ways that we have systemically excluded students from the possibility of success at learning statistics? I will argue, YES! Nationally, almost 2 million students begin college in remediation each year, and only 22% of students who start in mathematics remediation complete their subsequent general education mathematics course, such as introductory statistics (completecollege.org/spanningthedivide). We can expand the opportunity for thousands of students to learn statistics each year through switching to a corequisite statistics model in which students enter directly into an introductory statistics course, instead of completing remediation first. However, a major challenge of this model is designing statistics courses where both traditionally prepared and underprepared students can succeed side-by-side. I will discuss the use of complex instruction, a combination of pedagogical strategies that attend to problems of social inequality in the classroom through intentionally designed participation structures and tasks, to support student learning in an environment of such diverse backgrounds. I will also discuss how these strategies can be used beyond the introductory statistics classroom, and will provide evidence of the effectiveness of the corequisite model and complex instruction.