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Release of TEACHING STATISTICS IN SCHOOL MATHEMATICS

TEACHING STATISTICS IN SCHOOL MATHEMATICS: CHALLENGES FOR TEACHING AND TEACHER EDUCATION

A Joint ICMI/IASE Study (18th ICMI Study)

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Since the mid-1980s, the International Commission on Mathematical Instruction ICMI➶ has investigated issues of particular significance to the theory or practice of mathematics education by organising specific ICMI studies on these themes.

The 18th Study in this series has been organised in collaboration with the IASE and addresses some of the most important aspects of the teaching of statistics in schools by focussing on the education and professional development of teachers for teaching statistics. The Study included an IASE Roundtable Conference and is fully reported in the Proceedings of the Study Conference➶ and in the Study book now published in the ICMI Study series by Springer.

The main conclusions from research and exemplary practice reported and discussed in this Study are as follows:

Teaching statistics at school level

Although the teaching of statistics in secondary schools has a long tradition, in recent years many countries have also included statistics in the primary curriculum. In addition, more attention has been paid to developing statistical thinking in students across all levels of education.

Teachers’ attitudes, beliefs and knowledge

At the school level, Statistics is usually taught within the mathematics curriculum by teachers who may or may not be specifically trained to teach statistics. Most teachers acknowledge the practical importance of statistics and are willing to give more relevance to the teaching of statistics. However many mathematics teachers, do not consider themselves well prepared to teach statisticsnor face their students’ difficulties. Research summarised in the Study has shown a variety of difficulties and misconceptions of prospective teachers with respect to fundamental statistical ideas. There is little research related to teachers’ statistical pedagogical content knowledge, and what is available suggests that this knowledge is weak.

Current training of teachers

Few current teacher training programmes adequately educate teachers for teaching statistics at any school level. Few prospective secondary teachers receive specific pedagogical preparation in statistical thinking. The situation is even more challenging for primary teachers, since few of them receive any training in statistics.

The Study also involved sharing and analysing different experiences and initiatives in teacher education for teaching statistics. The following recommendations were produced.

Empowering teachers to teach statistics

There is a continuing need for finding approaches for preparing teachers that promote teachers’ statistical literacy and reasoning, that engage teachers with real data and statistical investigations, andthat connect teacher education to their teaching practice and the reality of their classrooms.

Collaboration in teacher education

Because of the nature of statistics and its key roles in all aspects of an information society, the statistics education of teachers could benefit from the support given by national statistical offices and statistical associations, which in many countries are increasingly involved in producing materials and organising initiatives to help increase statistical literacy of all citizens, with particular focus on education.

Relevance of research in statistics education

The rapid development of statistics and statistics education implies that further research in statistics education is needed. The analyses, research, and case studies reported in the Study provide a rich starting point for such research.

The study was presented at the Conferencia Interamericana de Educación Matemática (CIAEM) conference in Recife, Brazil, June 26-30, 2011 and is released in August 2011.

For further information, please contact:

New proceedings available on Internet

Dear Colleagues,

We have the pleasure to inform of the publication that followed the Fifth Symposium of Statistical Implicative Analysis ASI5➶. The proceedings “Implicative Statistic Analysis as an object of research and training in data analysis, a means for multidisciplinary investigation” are now available➶.

These proceedings show theoretical and practical aspects of a data analysis method, which is often used (at least in France, Spain and some Latin american countries) to analyse data from research in mathematics and statistics education. This method is related to cluster analysis and follows the French tradition of "analyse des données", but uses an asymmetrical distance and for this reason is useful in education, where relations between variables are often asymmetrical.

Best regards,

Régis Gras, Professeur Emérite à l'Ecole Polytechnique de l'Université de Nantes

http://math.unipa.it/~grim/homegras_03.htm

Support for 2012 IASE Roundtable presenters from developing countries

(15 January 2012)

Through ISI, the World Bank has generously made available support for participants from developing countries in ISI Association conferences for 2012. See the World Bank’s list of developing countries➶.

The objective of the World Bank is “to improve the capacity of statistical officers and academics in developing countries providing them with basic statistical knowledge to develop statistical systems through the participation in international conferences”.

If you are presenting a paper or are a discussant for the 2012 IASE Roundtable (http://icots.info/roundtable/), are from a World Bank-listed developing country, and are in need of financial support to enable attendance, you are eligible to apply for financial support to attend this conference. There are limited funds and the criteria below will be used to decide who can receive funding.

Awards and support will be allocated by the IASE Executive, using the criteria of:

  • significance of the planned contribution to the 2012 IASE Roundtable;
  • the World Bank’s objective;
  • need for financial support.

Please email Helen MacGillivray by 31st March, 2012.

In your email, please state (i) your country and institution; (ii) your planned contribution to the Roundtable; (iii) briefly your need for financial support, giving estimated costs for airfare and accommodation; and (iv) any other source of financial support.

Support for IASE members from developing countries to present at ICME 2012

(15 January 2012) Through ISI, the World Bank has generously made available support for participants from developing countries in ISI Association conferences for 2012. See the World Bank’s list of developing countries➶.

The objective of the World Bank is “to improve the capacity of statistical officers and academics in developing countries providing them with basic statistical knowledge to develop statistical systems through the participation in international conferences”.

If you are an IASE member presenting a paper in Study Group 11 or 12 at ICME 12, are from a World Bank-listed developing country, and are in need of financial support to enable attendance, you are eligible to apply for financial support to attend this conference. There are limited funds and the criteria below will be used to decide who can receive funding.

Awards and support will be allocated by the IASE Executive, using the criteria of:

  • significance of the contribution at ICME 12 to statistical education;
  • the World Bank’s objective;
  • need for financial support.

Please email Helen MacGillivray by 31st March, 2012.

In your email, please state (i) your country and institution; (ii) your planned contribution to ICME 12; (iii) briefly your need for financial support, giving estimated costs for airfare and accommodation; and (iv) any other source of financial support.

IASE Satellite Conference 2011 “Statistics Education and Outreach”

The IASE Satellite Conference was held at the Grand Hotel, Malahide, a coastal resort outside Dublin, on the 18th and 19th August, prior to the 2011 ISI World Statistics Congress (WSC).

The conference theme “Statistics Education and Outreach” attracted over sixty delegates, including statistics education researchers, teachers, lecturers and government trainers, from twenty-one different countries. The organisers were delighted to welcome many new faces to the conference, as well as catching up with old friends.

The conference commenced with a reception on the Wednesday evening, when delegates sampled Guinness with their statistical conversations. The conference was formally opened by the (then) IASE President, Helen MacGillivray, from Queensland University of Technology, Australia. This was followed by an ice-breaker which led to some lively discussions on who were the most important/influential statisticians.

The thirty-two oral presentations were divided under five sub-themes, namely: the school/university interface; school or university engagement with employers; interaction with other professions; engagement with other subject that use statistics; school or university engagement with the local community. The oral presentations were supplemented by a “spotlight” poster session, with contributions covering all the sub-themes. All presentations gave rise to lively discussion, contributing to 2 days full of ideas, initiatives, research findings and plans to advance the teaching and learning of statistics to reach all users no matter what their discipline or workplace.

Delegates enjoyed a happy, internationally collegiate and delicious conference dinner overlooking the Malahide estuary, with the friendly atmosphere including many spontaneous toasts and speeches. The abstracts and other information from the conference may be found on the conference website➶, including a gallery of pictures that capture the atmosphere of the conference.

The closing session, led by the new IASE President, John A. Harraway focussed on future activities. In July 2-6, 2012 the Roundtable Conference on “Technology in Statistics Education: Virtualities and Realities”, will be held in the Philippines; ongoing information➶. The next IASE Satellite Conference will synchronise with the ISI WSC in Hong Kong in August 2013. As this is themed on “youth” there should be plenty for IASE to contribute to the WSC in both Invited Paper Sessions and Special Topic Sessions. IASE’s flagship is the International Conference on Teaching Statistics (ICOTS), and the next ICOTS (ICOTS9), is to be held in Flagstaff, USA, in 2014.

The next three years will be very busy for IASE. If you are interested in its activities and would like to make a contribution or just find out more, please look at the IASE website and future announcements in the ISI Newsletter.

Helen MacGillivray, 9 October 2011

Email from President, 17 Jan 2011

Hi to all IASE current and past members.

Best wishes to everyone for 2011. I hope you have had a happy festive season and that the various weather challenges have not caused too many difficulties for you and your families and friends.

You may have seen news of Queensland's floods, particularly the last week's distressing events in Brisbane and nearby Toowoomba and the Lockyer Valley.

I have emailed IASE members in the region and have received replies from most that they are fine and helping friends and relatives - same for me.

I have also emailed Brazil’s IASE national correspondent to express sympathy in Brazil’s floods and landslides and hope that all IASE members and their families are safe and sound. (More about national correspondents in the next email.)

2010 saw a wonderful ICOTS. Thanks to everyone who helped make it wonderful, especially John Harraway, Andrej Blejec, Chris Reading, Roxy Peck and John Shanks. A report on ICOTS8 is on the News page of the IASE website.

This report is also included in IASE Matters, an insert in the journal Teaching Statistics. In 2010 we welcomed our new IASE Matters and ISI News editors, Nel Verhoeven and Livia D'Andrea. You will find them on the Executive Committee page on the IASE website. Our thanks to the previous IASE Matters editors Larry Weldon and Andrej Blejec. ISI News is now online and continuous, so keep an eye on it for anything of interest to you.

2010 also saw great work on the ISLP and our thanks to all who are involved, and particularly the ISLP director (Reija Helenius) and deputy directors (Sharleen Forbes and Pedro Campos). Latest ISLP Newsletter➶. The focus for this ISLP Newsletter is on activities on WSD as reported by ISLP country representatives. It was fantastic to note that this special day was celebrated so widely.

The ISLP international poster competition is underway, timed for its finale during the 58th World Statistics Congress of the ISI in Dublin in August, 2011. See the IASE website for details of the statistics education invited paper sessions and links to the WSC website.

The 58th WSC will be preceded by the next IASE satellite conference➶, with theme Statistics Education and Outreach. Program chair is Penny Bidgood, and local organiser is Aisling Leavy. The venue is a pretty coastal township called Malahide, conveniently close to Dublin city.

I have just sent a test email to 2010 IASE members using the membership directory sent to me during 2010 by ISI. If you are a current IASE member and you did not receive this email, you may have already updated your email address with ISI when you renewed your membership for 2011. If you are a current member and did not receive the test email I sent (titled Test email to IASE members) and have not sent a new email address to ISI, please email me. If you are a past member, please consider re-joining IASE. If you do not wish to receive any IASE emails, please let me know (and apologies if we have already received an email from you and not yet updated).

Helen MacGillivray

Report on the 8th International Conference on Teaching Statistics, (ICOTS8)

Held Ljubljana, 11th-16th July, 2010

The IASE organises conferences or satellite conferences each year. The International Conferences on Teaching Statistics (ICOTS) are the major IASE conferences and are held every four years at different locations around the world. ICOTS history started 28 years ago when the Education Committee of ISI decided to hold an International Conference on Teaching Statistics. The success ICOTS1 (1982, Sheffield, UK), ICOTS2 (1986, Victoria, Canada), and ICOTS3 (1990, Dunedin, New Zealand) contributed to the formation of the IASE in 1991. ICOTS has continued as the highlight in international gatherings on statistics education, with ICOTS4, (1994, Marrakech, Morocco), ICOTS5 (1998, Singapore), ICOTS6 (2002, Cape Town, South Africa), and ICOTS7 (2006, Salvador, Brazil).

This is the first time that ICOTS has been held in continental Europe and the beautiful setting of Ljubljana provided a wonderful environment for the more than 550 delegates from 60 countries to meet, present and discuss all aspects of statistics education. The theme of “Data and context: towards an evidence-based society” influenced all 10 invited paper topics, and featured particularly as Topic 1. More than 220 invited papers, 120 contributed papers and the abstracts of more than 50 posters can be found in the proceedings section, together with videos of the plenary addresses by Hans Rosling, Jessica Utts, Gerd Gigerenzer, Anuška Ferligoj, and Cliff Konold.

From ICOTS6 onwards, an optional double-blind refereeing process has been offered for people submitting a paper to ICOTS and IASE satellite conferences to ISI congresses, organised and coordinated by the conference editor(s) and International Programme Committees. For ICOTS8, 171 papers were submitted for refereeing, and referees from 29 different countries provided a broad international perspective. Of these papers, 65% were designated as having been accepted by the review process and designated as ‘refereed’ in the Proceedings.

Almost 300 first time ICOTS-ers and 100 early career delegates were welcomed at ICOTS8. Many of the first time ICOTS-ers commented that they wished they had discovered ICOTS sooner. The IASE hosted a breakfast for the early career delegates, and funded two prizes for the best refereed paper by an early career author. The winners were Jill Fielding-Wells (Australia) and Andreja Vidic (Slovenia), with Highly Commended awards to Jennifer Kaplan (USA) and Jennifer Noll (USA). Thanks to sponsorship from the World Bank, supplemented by funds from the IASE and the ASA (American Statistical Association), the ICOTS8 Executive Committee was able to provide at least some support to delegates from 14 different developing countries (“developing” as designated by the World Bank). The open ceremony on Sunday included local entertainment and was followed by an open air reception. The International Statistical Literacy Project (ISLP) held an open meeting and a meeting of its Advisory Board. The lively discussion of an open IASE meeting continued into a wine and cheese reception.

Innovations for ICOTS8 included a plenary session of The Great Debates of ICOTS8, organised by Chris Wild and Helen MacGillivray, featuring two debates with team members Dani Ben Zvi, Adrian Bowman, Rob Gould, Irena Ograjensek, Enriqueta Reston, Eric Sowey, Susan Starkings, Linda Young, and enjoyed greatly by the audience. The conference dinner in the beautiful banqueting hall of Ljubljana’s Hotel Union Executive was much enlivened by the entertainment of Professor Alphonso Fratellini (aka Peter Martin) and his ballad of ICOTS8. On a more serious note, the conference concluded with a President’s session titled Challenges and Opportunities for Statistics Education and the IASE.

The IASE is grateful to all who made ICOTS8 possible and contributed to the conference works and funding, including the International ICOTS8 Executive chaired by John Harraway, the Local Organising Committee chaired by Andrej Blejec, the Editor (Christine Reading), the Information Manager (John Shanks), the Programme Chair (Roxy Peck), the Venue Manager (Tina Kramberger), the sponsors (listed at http://icots.info/8/information.php), the Topic Convenors, Contributed Paper Convenors, Poster Convenors, Session Organisers, and all authors, referees, presenters, panellists and delegates.

The memories, inspirations, discussions, praise and critiques of ICOTS8 will feed into preparations for ICOTS9. We encourage all interested in statistics education to join the ICOTS community at ICOTS9 in 2014.

Website

Helen MacGillivray (President IASE and Scientific Coordinator ICOTS8)

Support for ICOTS8 presenters from developing countries

(28 January 2010)

Through ISI, the World Bank has generously made available support for ICOTS8 participants from developing countries. For this purpose only, the ISI has given permission to use the World Bank’s list of developing countries at developing countries➶ instead of the ISI’s list which uses UNSD GDP Per Capita information.

The objective of the World Bank is “to improve the capacity of statistical officers and academics in developing countries providing them with basic statistical knowledge to develop statistical systems through the participation in international conferences”.

If you are presenting a paper or poster at ICOTS8, are from a World Bank-listed developing country, and are in need of financial support to enable attendance at ICOTS8, you are eligible to apply for financial support to attend ICOTS8. We anticipate being able to provide at least some support for 7-8 participants. There are limited funds and the criteria below will be used to decide who can receive funding.

Awards and support will be allocated by the ICOTS8 International Programme Committee Executive, using the criteria of:

  • significance of the contribution to ICOTS8;
  • the World Bank’s objective;
  • need for financial support.

Please email Helen MacGillivray by 28th February.

In your email, please state (i) your country and institution; (ii) your planned contribution; (iii) briefly your need for financial support, giving estimated costs for airfare and accommodation; and (iv) any other source of financial support.