Become a Catalyst for Change in Statistics Education

Presented by

Joan Garfield, Bob delMas, & Andy Zieffler, University of Minnesota; and Allan Rossman & Beth Chance, Cal Poly - San Luis Obispo; and John Holcomb, Cleveland State University

Thursday, June 25th, 2009 • 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m


This one-day workshop will feature materials developed by the NSF funded CATALST project (Change Agents for Teaching and Learning Statistics). The changes we are working towards are in both content and pedagogy of the introductory, non-calculus based statistics course. The materials to be shared are designed to help students achieve the learning goals listed in the ASA-endorsed GAISE Report (see the report at We have developed sets of hands-on activities that form units based around a particular real world problem (e.g., how to develop a SPAM filter for email) and the related statistical ideas that emerge from this type of problem. The problems, called "Model Eliciting Activities," are rich and complex open-ended problems that stimulate statistical thinking, engage students in creating developing and testing unique models to solve the problem, and prepare them to learn the statistical content that follows in the unit. The CATALST materials focus on important ideas of statistical inference and the use of simulation throughout the course.

Finances: The workshop is free and the registration fee for USCOTS will be waived for those chosen to attend the workshop (be sure to apply for a registration grant when registering for USCOTS). Lunch will be provided the day of the workshop. Limited support to help cover additional housing costs may be available: contact Joan Garfield ( for more information.

Please note that the CATALST workshop held this Thursday, June 25, will begin at 8:30am (not 9:00 as originally stated) and will conclude at 2pm (instead of 2:30). The workshop will be held in The Blackwell's Pfahl Conference Center room 240. If you aren't sure where this is, enter The Blackwell and look for signs for the Bistro 2110 which is on the ground floor of Pfahl Hall, take the elevator next to the Bistro to the second floor. There is a significant amount of road and ramp closings - particularly on Rt 315 which has the easiest access to the area. Plan for extra time to get there. Feel free to check the Transportation section of the USCOTS website for details. See you there!


Thursday June 25, 2009

8:30 - 9:45 a.m.

Introduction: What is a Model Eliciting Activity (MEA)

Experiencing an MEA.

9:45 - 10:00 a.m.


10:00 - 10:30 a.m.

Why and how to use MEAs in an introductory statistics class.

10:30 - 11:30 a.m.

Activities to follow an MEA

11:30 - 12:30 p.m.

Lunch at Bistro 2110

12:30 - 2:00 p.m.

Implementation issues: What and how to make changes in your intro stats courses

2:00 p.m.


About the Presenters

Joan GarfieldJoan Garfield is a professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Minnesota, where she runs a unique graduate program in statistics education and teaches courses on teaching statistics and research in statistics education. She is an Associate Director of CAUSE, heading the research arm of the consortium. She is an active participant in national and international organizations involving statistics education and is an Associate Editor for the IASE Statistics Education Research Journal (SERJ) and Technology Innovations in Statistics Education (TISE). She is an ASA Fellow and recipient of the ASA Founder's award and currently co-directs three NSF grants.

Bob delMasBob delMas is an Associate Professor, Department of Educational Psychology, University of Minnesota. He is a co-PI on several NSF funded projects: Assessment Resource Tools for Improving Statistical Thinking (ARTIST); Adapting and Implementing Innovative Materials in Statistics Courses (AIMS); Change Agents for Teaching And Learning Statistics (CATALST). He has made several presentations with Joan Garfield and Beth Chance on their joint research into the effective use of software to promote students statistical thinking and reasoning. Their work is highlighted in the book Statistical Thinking, Reasoning, and Literacy (Kluwer) that provides an international perspective on current statistics education research. His work has also been published in the Journal of Statistics Education (JSE) and the Statistics Education Research Journal (SERJ). He is an associate editor for the Journal of Statistics Education, a research consultant for CAUSE (Consortium for the Advancement of Undergraduate Statistics Education), and the current chair of the ASA Section on Statistical Education.

Andrew ZiefflerAndrew Zieffler is a Lecturer in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Minnesota. He is a co-PI of the NSF-funded project Adapting and Implementing Innovative Materials in Statistics Courses (AIMS). He is also the project evaluator for the NSF-funded project, Rational Number Project: Instructional Module for Fractions, Decimals, and Percents. His research interests include development of curricula and assessments for use in introductory statistics courses, the use of linear mixed-effects models to examine students' development of statistical reasoning, and the design and improvement of student assessments through psychometric analysis. Andy is currently a member of the Research Advisory Board for CAUSE (Consortium for the Advancement of Undergraduate Statistics Education).

Allan RossmanAllan J. Rossman is a Professor in the Department of Statistics at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. His work has focused on developing curricular materials to support active learning approaches to teaching introductory statistics. With Beth Chance, he is co-author of the Workshop Statistics series of coursebooks and also of Investigating Statistical Concepts, Applications, and Methods. He and Dr. Chance have also co-edited STATS magazine and the Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on Teaching Statistics. Dr. Rossman has chaired the ASA's Section on Statistical Education and the ASA/MAA Joint Committee on Undergraduate Statistics. He is currently President of the International Association for Statistical Education and is Chief Reader-Designate for the AP Statistics program. He was the 2007 Program Chair for the Joint Statistical Meetings and was selected as a Fellow of the ASA in 2001.

Beth ChanceBeth Chance is Professor of Statistics at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. She is co-author of Workshop Statistics and Investigating Statistical Concepts, Applications, and Methods with Allan Rossman. She is currently the assistant editor for the Statistics Education Research Journal and has been on the editorial board of the Journal of Statistics Education and The American Statistician. She has been involved with the AP Statistics for many years including serving on the test development committee. She is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association and the inaugural winner of the Waller Education Award for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching Introductory Statistics. Beth's primary research interests have been in the areas of effective uses of technology and assessment in introductory statistics.

John HolcombDr. John P. Holcomb, Jr. is a Professor in the Dept. of Mathematics at Cleveland State University. He was a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Statistics Education for six years, was a member of the ARTIST advisory board, and is a member of Research Advisory Board for CAUSE. He was program chair for the Section on Statistical Education for the 2002 Joint Statistical Meetings. In 2000, Dr. Holcomb was named a Carnegie Fellow by the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. He has given regional and national addresses advocating project use with real data in all levels of statistics courses. He has publications related to these pedagogical developments published in The American Statistician and Journal of Statistics Education. He received the ASA's Waller Education Award for innovation and excellence in teaching introductory statistics in 2003.