Invited Talks

Topic 10 : Innovative collaboration in statistics education

In a world that is increasingly interconnected and shares more and more common challenges, collaboration of any kind has important potential to create new synergies and insights. Collaborations of practitioners and researchers in statistics education from different countries enrich our collective understandings of sustainable teaching innovations in well-resourced educational environments. Within countries with diverse levels of resources, collaboration between statistics educators at contrasting institutional bases may be mutually beneficial and give rise to sustainable initiatives addressing inequities of education in contrasting situations of need and privilege. These sessions will explore current collaborative practice and to envisage new modes facilitated by use of the many tools becoming available in an information age. Interactions between official statistics agencies and schools, between industry and universities, and between professional societies and statistics educators and students exhibit the power of cross-disciplinary activities.

Session 10A: Collaborations between Statistics agencies and academia (schools/universities/colleges)

10A2: Developing statistical literacy amongst in-service teachers through a collaborative project

Delia North   University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Temesgen Zewotir   University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Iddo Gal   University of Haifa, Israel

Training teachers to promote statistical literacy in developing countries has to be very carefully planned to make the most effective use of limited resources available. In South Africa, an additional challenge of overcoming the generation of teachers that have a limited background in mathematics education, following the Apartheid era. The University of KwaZulu-Natal and Statistics South Africa have jointly introduced a program for promoting the teaching of statistics amongst in-service teachers (KZN maths4stats lecture series). This paper examines factors affecting the design of this simple intervention and its impact on teachers’ attitudes towards teaching statistics, and reflects on issues in the planning of future intervention programs and related research that could improve the adoption of statistics instruction in developing countries.


10A3: SMARTCensus – making sense of census data

James Nicholson   University of Durham, United Kingdom
James Ridgway   University of Durham, United Kingdom
Sean McCusker   University of Durham, United Kingdom

Statistics Agencies (SAs) increasingly are putting data into the public domain. However, open access does not mean that data will be displayed and analysed in appropriate ways, or interpreted sensibly. SAs face a number of potential problems associated with getting data used widely and appropriately – there are issues of access to media, and of appropriate data interpretation – statistical literacy in the population is rather low. INCENSE is a collaboration between the SMART Centre at Durham University and the UK Office of National Statistics, designed to make census data more accessible through data visualization, and to understand how politicians and journalists used 2011 census data when it was released. This paper offers a critical account of some challenges of creating effective data visualisations. We will explore the benefits to SAs and to academics from collaborations of this nature.


10A4: More ways to Heaven than one: improving statistical literacy in Ireland

Eoin MacCuirc   Central Statistics Office, Ireland
Steve MacFeely   Central Statistics Office and University College Cork, Ireland

In 2007, with the aim of improving statistical literacy and effective use of statistics, the Central Statistics Office in Ireland launched an Education Outreach Programme. To achieve these objectives, the CSO has fostered key academic partnerships at a national and international level. Seminar Series, Statistical Liaison groups, Oireachtas briefings, CensusAtSchool, the John Hooper Medal for Statistics, the Apps4Gaps competition, the Professional Diploma in Official Statistics for Policy Evaluation, the International Statistical Literacy Poster Competition are some of the key projects developed under the umbrella of the Education Outreach Programme. This paper outlines the rationale behind the development and implementation of the Irish Education Outreach Programme with illustrations drawn from the Irish experience to date.


Session 10C: Collaboration among countries

10C1: Statistics and probability curriculum development for future elementary teachers in Chile: collaboration among countries

Alejandra Sorto   Texas State University, United States
Eugenio Chandía Muñoz   University of Chile, Chile
José Luis Abreu León   National Independent University of Mexico, Mexico
Anita Araneda   Catholic University of Chile, Chile

During 2003, the Chilean Bureau of Education decided to include statistics and probability as one of the main areas of the curriculum for elementary and secondary schools. This scenario poses new challenges to universities that need to prepare future teachers in these subjects. One of these challenges is the lack of textbooks and materials to support teacher educators. A multidisciplinary and international team of statisticians, mathematicians, and teacher educators joined efforts to test and develop curriculum materials aimed to provide future elementary teachers with learning opportunities related to content and specialized knowledge. In this presentation, we will describe the process of working together, the different international prospective that enriched the development of the materials, and findings from pilot testing in 16 universities with elementary teacher preparation programs throughout the country.


10C3: How the curriculum shapes teachers’ thinking: a comparison of New Zealand and Australian teachers’ thinking about statistics

Rosemary Callingham   University of Tasmania, Australia
Tim Burgess   Massey University, New Zealand

As part of a larger project considering teachers’ mathematical knowledge for teaching, focus groups of teachers in Australia and New Zealand were asked to respond to stimulus material including student responses to test items. Statistics questions were included. The New Zealand curriculum, which includes statistics in its title, has a stronger focus on statistics than does the Australian Curriculum – Mathematics. It was notable that New Zealand teachers placed more emphasis on statistical understanding, especially at the higher levels of schooling. In contrast, Australian teachers focussed on algebraic reasoning and functions, and did not engage with statistical questions as enthusiastically as their peers in the different country. Although Australia and New Zealand are often considered to be very similar, it is evident that the curriculum context elicited different responses. The implications of this finding will be discussed.


10C4: Building strength from compromise: a case study of five year collaboration between the Statistical Services Centre of the University of Reading, UK, and Maseno University, Kenya

David Stern   Maseno University, Kenya
Roger Stern   Maseno University, Kenya
James Musyoka   Maseno University, Kenya

Statistics teaching and practice at Maseno University has benefited immensely from its collaboration with the Statistical Services Centre (SSC) at the University of Reading. The SSC, a self-sustaining entity providing statistical consultancy to a wide range of clients in Africa, has also found a trusted pair of hands to help with its work in the developing world. The success of this collaboration is due to the long-standing working relationship between staff at these two institutions which this paper describes from both points’ of view. This collaboration is not without challenges and this paper also discusses the compromises made by both parties to make this collaboration work.


Session 10E: Research projects collaborations

10E1: Open lessons impact statistics teaching teachers’ beliefs

Raimundo Olfos   Pontifical Catholic University of Valparaíso, Chile
Sergio Morales   Pontifical Catholic University of Valparaíso, Chile
Soledad Estrella   Pontificial Catholic University of Valparaíso, Chile

Teachers’ beliefs regulate teaching practices in the classroom and influence the interpretation that teacher makes teaching and learning and influences in what to say and do in class. Furthermore, beliefs are changed from reflection on practice, practice and collaboratively, constituting open classes a powerful tool to trigger change process on teacher beliefs. We investigate the over time impact of open classes on teachers’ beliefs in the context of a Lesson Study. Lessons were prepared, observed and discussed by researchers and classroom teachers with experience in Lesson Study providing content and ecological validity to the classes. 28 observer teachers answered a Likert scale referred to teaching of statistics beliefs before and after observing open classes. Student’s t-test showed impact of first year open lesson and it remained during the second one.


10E2: Conducting successful cross-institutional research in statistics education

Jacqueline Wroughton   Northern Kentucky University, United States

Any type of research, especially in education, is enhanced by the inclusion of multiple researchers as well as multiple institutions to allow for a greater generalization of obtained results. However, it can be very hard to know how to complete, let alone start, a successful collaboration. Examples of successful cross-institutional research, as well as an assessment of the benefits and drawbacks of conducting such studies are discussed.


10E3: Peer learning in statistics beyond the University curriculum

Peter Petocz   Macquarie University, Australia
Emily Trussell   Macquarie University, Australia
Kirsten Warwick   Macquarie University, Australia
Anna Reid   University of Sydney, Australia
Aisha Newnham   Macquarie University, Australia
Allysia Jarrett   Colorado Christian University, United States
Ayse Bilgin   Macquarie University, Australia

Peer learning in statistics has been described in various contexts, including in-class collaborations and assessment that takes the form of group projects; most reports attest to its positive effects on the learning process. However, peer learning arranged by students themselves can also enhance students’ learning. In this paper, we describe a research project investigating peer learning “beyond the curriculum” in university statistics classes. The parameters of the project were derived from a similar study in the discipline of music. The project was carried out as an action research collaboration between students in a first-year statistics class, university lecturers of statistics and a music academic. Students were aware of the academic and social benefits of forming study groups to support each other’s statistics learning, and they gave clear advice to future students in the form of a short video clip that they constructed based on their research discussions.