Statistics Workshops for Math, Science Teachers Held in San Diego
Sixth annual Meeting Within a Meeting held in conjunction with JSM
Katherine Halvorsen, MWM Program Chair, and Rebecca Nichols, ASA Director of Education
The American Statistical Association sponsored the sixth Meeting Within a Meeting (MWM) statistics workshop for middle- and high-school mathematics and science teachers on July 31 and August 1 in conjunction with the 2012 Joint Statistical Meetings in San Diego, California. This year, 24 high-school teachers and administrators and 13 middle-school teachers attended the workshop that addressed statistical concepts taught in middle and high school.
MWM workshops emphasize the growth of statistical literacy and thinking as teachers explore problems that require them to formulate questions; collect, organize, analyze, and draw conclusions from data; and apply basic concepts of probability. A follow-up program is planned that will help keep the teachers who attended MWM and the ASA in contact via webinars and email.
The primary goals of the MWM 2012 program were to introduce middle- and high-school math and science teachers to the Guidelines for Assessment and Instruction in Statistics Education (GAISE) Report: A Pre-K–12 Curriculum Framework and how to apply it to the statistical content of the Common Core State Standards as well as provide an opportunity for teachers to discuss and apply these data analysis and statistical concepts.
A secondary goal was to encourage cooperation between mathematics and science teachers in the teaching of statistics. The MWM program is designed to enhance 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.
“One of the primary missions of the American Statistical Association is to work for the improvement of statistical education at all levels,” said Ron Wasserstein, the ASA’s executive director. “We are pleased to reach out to the K–12 mathematics and science community through the MWM workshop and follow-up activities,” he added. “MWM will not only enhance understanding and teaching of statistics concepts in the classroom, but also provide participants with a network of statisticians and educators to assist in developing the quantitative literacy of their students.”
The first MWM workshop was held in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 2007 and focused on middle-school math and science teachers. Its success led Martha Aliaga, former ASA director of education and creator of MWM, to recommend expanding the Denver MWM workshop in 2008 to a two-day format that included separate strands for K–4, 5–8, and 9–12 teachers. MWM 2009 in Washington, DC, included parallel strands for K–4, 5–8, and 9–12 teachers on the first day and a field trip to the U.S. Census Bureau on the second day. MWM 2010 in Vancouver, BC, was the first international MWM workshop jointly sponsored by the ASA and Statistical Society of Canada and included both U.S. and Canadian presenters and participants. MWM 2011 in Miami Beach, Florida, included separate workshops for middle- and high-school teachers focused on the statistics content in the Common Core State Standards.
Each workshop day of MWM 2012 consisted of three sessions and a closing period used to reflect on the day’s work and provide comments about the program to the organizers. The workshop sessions were preceded by an overview of the GAISE report and Common Core standards relevant to the audience.
Middle-school teachers attended the workshop sessions on both Tuesday and Wednesday and participated in discussions about formulating statistical questions, univariate analysis of measurement data focusing on measures of center and spread, using random sampling, bivariate measurement data analysis and categorical data analysis, and investigating patterns in data.
The three sessions in the high-school program on Tuesday included discussions about statistical questions and study design, displaying and summarizing categorical and quantitative data, and using randomization tests to make inferences and justify conclusions. High-school teachers were given the option on Wednesday to attend the second day of the middle-school workshop (to see what should be taught before students reach high school) or attend statistics education sessions at the Joint Statistical Meetings. Some also attended the Beyond AP Statistics (BAPS) Workshop, which was held in conjunction with JSM on August 1.
All teachers were given a certificate of participation issued by the ASA. They may receive 0.5 semester credit hour, through Adams State University, for attending one day of the workshop and 1.0 credit hour for attending both days.
We are in the process of planning the 2013 statistics workshops for middle- and high-school teachers, which might be held outside of JSM for the first time. Do you know K–12 mathematics or science teachers who are interested in enhancing their understanding and teaching of statistics within their mathematics and science curriculum? If so, encourage them to register to attend the 2013 workshop. Chapters are encouraged to sponsor one or more teachers.
The registration process will begin in March 2013, and further information about the workshops will be available on the MWM website. Also, there are flyers about K–12 statistics education programs and resources available. Questions should be directed to Rebecca Nichols, ASA director of education, at email@example.com or (703) 684-1221, Ext. 1877.