“I LOVE MATH ONLY IF IT'S CODING”: A CASE STUDY OF STUDENT EXPERIENCES IN AN INTRODUCTION TO DATA SCIENCE COURSE
Keywords:Statistics education research, Data science education, High school mathematics pathways, Non-traditional high school mathematics, Introduction to Data Science (IDS) course
Many important voices--including The National Council for Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), the Dana Center’s Launch Years initiative, and others--advocate for expanding the traditional course offerings in high school mathematics and statistics to include courses such as the Introduction to Data Science (IDS). To date, the research on the IDS course has primarily focused on pedagogy, professional learning for teachers, and the curriculum. This mixed-methods case study expands our understanding by analyzing the perspective of IDS students at a California public high school. Self-determination theory provides a useful frame for interpreting how these students experience the IDS course. The theory focuses on conditions for students to engage in meaningful learning: competence (self-efficacy), autonomy (agency), and relatedness (a sense of belonging). The findings from this case study suggest the IDS students feel confident, empowered, and part of a vibrant community, unlike previous mathematics and statistics courses they may have completed; and use specific language to describe their joy in problem-solving and the accessibility of the course. These findings have implications for the development and refinement of any high school data science course, including IDS.