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Statistics Workshop for K–12 Teachers Goes to U.S. Census Bureau

1 October 2009 1,273 views No Comment
Katherine Halvorsen, MWM Program Chair, and Rebecca Nichols, ASA K–16 Education Manager



Renée Jefferson-Copeland, chief of the Census in Schools Branch of the U.S. Census Bureau, addresses the MWM audience while Katherine Wallman, chief statistician at the Office of Management and Budget, and Arnold Jackson, associate director for decennial census, look on. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Census Bureau, Public Information Office

Renée Jefferson-Copeland, chief of the Census in Schools Branch of the U.S. Census Bureau, addresses the MWM audience while Katherine Wallman, chief statistician at the Office of Management and Budget, and Arnold Jackson, associate director for decennial census, look on. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Census Bureau, Public Information Office

The American Statistical Association held its third annual Meeting Within a Meeting (MWM) August 3–4, concurrently with the Joint Statistical Meetings in Washington, DC. Developed to help K–12 mathematics and science teachers—many of whom have little or no formal statistics training—meet current mathematics and science standards for teaching statistics, the program provides an opportunity for teachers to discuss and apply the statistical concepts and data analysis tools described in the Guidelines for Assessment and Instruction in Statistics Education (GAISE) Report: A Pre-K–12 Curriculum Framework. “Teachers explore problems that require them to formulate questions; collect, organize, analyze, and draw conclusions from data; and apply the basic concepts of probability,” said Katherine Halvorsen, MWM program chair. “The MWM program includes examining what students can be expected to do at the most basic level of understanding and what can be expected of them as their skill develops and their experience broadens.”

The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) standards, most state mathematics standards, and the recent College Board Standards for College Success include standards for teaching statistics and probability. The ASA’s MWM program is designed to enhance K–12 educators’ understanding of statistics and provide them with hands-on activities they can use in their own classrooms to strengthen the teaching of statistics in their schools.

The first MWM workshop in 2007 focused on middle-school teachers and was a huge success, which led Martha Aliaga, the ASA’s director of education, to recommend expanding the 2008 workshop to two days and include strands for K–4, 5–8, and 9–12 teachers. MWM 2009 included K–4, 5–8, and 9–12 workshop sessions on August 3, with a visit to the U.S. Census Bureau and JSM sessions on August 4.

The Workshop Sessions

This year’s K–4 participants learned about GAISE Level A activities through hands-on experiences. Jerry Moreno, a GAISE author, organized the K–4 sessions that included data collection and analysis, probability, and poster and project activities. They distinguished between categorical and numerical data and learned to use appropriate graphs for both types. They also explored the shapes and measures of the center of a data distribution and discussed statistical posters. Presenters included Pat Hopfensperger of Homestead High School in Mequon, Wisconsin, Tim Jacobbe of the University of Florida, and Moreno.

Middle-school teachers focused on GAISE Level B activities with categorical, numerical, and bivariate data and discussed lesson planning and assessment tools. Halvorsen organized the sessions, and presenters included Moreno, Christine Franklin of the University of Georgia and GAISE author, Gary Kader of Appalachian State University and GAISE author, Paul Fields of Brigham Young University, and Lew Romagnano of Metro State College of Denver.

Halvorsen and Robert delMas of the University of Minnesota organized the high-school sessions, which focused on GAISE Level C activities and lesson planning and assessment. The goal of the workshop was to help non-AP Statistics teachers introduce statistics concepts into their traditional math courses. The program included formulating questions for class activities and projects, random selection and allocation, and using Fathom to help teach statistical concepts. Presenters included Romagnano, Halvorsen, delMas, and Chris Olsen of Thomas Jefferson High School.

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