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What makes a good statistical question?

Tuesday, April 27th, 20214:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Presented by: Pip Arnold (New Zealand) & Chris Franklin (ASA K-12 Statistics Ambassador/ASA Fellow/UGA Emerita)


In the April CAUSE/Journal of Statistics and Data Science Education webinar series, we discuss "What Makes a Good Statistical Question?" with Pip Arnold & Christine Franklin, the co-authors of a forthcoming paper in JSDSE (  

The statistical problem-solving process is key to the statistics curriculum at the school level, post-secondary, and in statistical practice. The process has four main components: Formulate questions, collect data, analyze data, and interpret results. The Pre-K-12 Guidelines for Assessment and Instruction in Statistics Education (GAISE) emphasizes the importance of distinguishing between a question that anticipates a deterministic answer and a question that anticipates an answer based on data that will vary, referred to as a statistical question. This paper expands upon the Pre-K-12 GAISE distinction of a statistical question by addressing and identifying the different types of statistical questions used across the four components of the statistical problem-solving process and the importance of interrogating these different statistical question types. Since the publication of the original Pre-K-12 GAISE document, research has helped to clarify the purposes of questioning at each component of the process, to clarify the language of questioning, and to develop criteria for answering the question, "What makes a good statistical question?"

Pip Arnold is a statistics educator who also sometimes masquerades as a mathematics educator.  Her continuing interests include statistical questions, working to support with K-10 teachers in developing their statistical content knowledge and looking at ways to authentically integrate statistics across the curriculum. Pip has been developing a teacher's resource to support the teaching of statistics from K-10 for New Zealand teachers, based on the PPDAC statistical enquiry cycle that is the basis of statistical problem-solving in New Zealand.

Christine (Chris) Franklin is the ASA K-12 Statistics Ambassador, an ASA Fellow, and UGA Emerita Statistics faculty. She is the co-author of two introductory statistics textbooks, chair for the ASA policy documents Pre-K-12 GAISE (2005) and Statistical Education of Teachers (2015), and co-chair for the recently published Pre-K-12 GAISE II. She is a former AP Statistics Chief Reader and a past Fulbright scholar to NZ, where she and Pip began having many conversations about the role of questioning in the statistical problem-solving process.