Education Updates and Resources
Rebecca Nichols, ASA Director of Education
The American Statistical Association is dedicated to and involved in enhancing statistics education at all levels. The following describes new or ongoing statistics education projects, resources, and opportunities.
The 2013 U.S. Conference on Teaching Statistics (USCOTS ’13) will be held May 16–18 at the Embassy Suites Hotel & Conference Center in Raleigh-Durham (Research Triangle), North Carolina. The theme of the conference is “Making Change Happen.”
Recordings are freely available online for the 2012 Electronic Conference on Teaching Statistics (eCOTS). The next eCOTS will be held in 2014.
The International Association for Statistical Education (IASE) will hold their 2013 satellite conference August 22–24 in Macao, China, before the ISI meeting in Hong Kong. The theme is “Statistics Education for Progress.”
Statistics education sessions will be held at the 2013 Joint Statistical Meetings August 3–8 in Montréal, Québec, Canada. The conference theme is “Celebrating the International Year of Statistics.”
The 9th International Conference on Teaching Statistics (ICOTS 9) will be held in Flagstaff, Arizona, July 13–18, 2014. The theme of ICOTS 9 is “Sustainability in Statistics Education.”
K‑12 Statistics Education
There is a new national focus on statistics education at the K–12 level, with statistics taking a more prominent role in the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). There is great need for professional development and resources to assist teachers who are teaching the increased statistics content. For information regarding the statistics content in the CCSS and the ASA’s Guidelines for Assessment and Instruction in Statistics Education (GAISE) Report: A Pre-K–12 Curriculum Framework related to teacher preparation, see Christine Franklin’s article, “Common Core State Standards and the Future of Teacher Preparation in Statistics.”
The ASA and National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) released a statement calling on universities and school administrators across the country to provide high-quality training and professional-development opportunities that will help prepare teachers lead classes on statistics.
In light of the CCSS, the Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences (CBMS) released The Mathematical Education of Teachers II (MET2), which focuses on the mathematics and statistics preparation of K–12 teachers. The ASA review of MET2 was well received by CBMS, which encouraged the ASA to expand recommendations to a white paper. The ASA board recently funded this project to create a companion report on the statistics education of teachers, which will be led by Christine Franklin and Tim Jacobbe, both members of the ASA/NCTM Joint Committee. For information, visit the CBMS website.
As part of the International Year of Statistics (Statistics2013), teachers everywhere can access a wealth of statistics instruction tools and resources from around the world. Schools also can sign up to participate in Statistics2013.
ASA hosts the U.S. version of Census at School, a free international classroom project that engages students in grades 4–12 in statistical problemsolving using their own real data. Students complete an online survey, analyze their class census results, and compare their class with random samples of students in the U.S. and other countries. A number of online webinars and other resources are available to help educators learn more about the project and how to explore the data. As of April 1, 2013, more than 12,500 students have participated from 43 states, plus Washington, DC. Information about how to get involved with the program is on the Amstat News website.
The ASA is involved in enhancing K–12 statistics education, mainly through the efforts of the ASA/NCTM Joint Committee on Curriculum in Statistics and Probability. Committee projects include:
- Bridging the Gap Between Common Core State Standards and Teaching Statistics, designed to help educators bring statistics into elementary- and middle-school classrooms
- Making Sense of Statistical Studies, which provides investigations for upper middle-school or high-school students to gain experience in designing and analyzing statistical studies
- The printed GAISE Report: A Pre-K–12 Curriculum Framework
- The Statistics Teacher Network (STN) newsletter
Statistics Education Web (STEW) offers peer-reviewed K–12 lesson plans tied to the new standards. Statistics educators are invited to submit lesson plans for publication on the STEW website. There is a new competition offering cash prizes for the best new STEW lesson plans using U.S. Census at School data.
Free webinars on K–12 statistics education topics are available. This series was developed as part of the follow-up activities for the Meeting Within a Meeting (MWM) statistics workshop for math and science teachers. The next MWM statistics workshop and the Beyond AP Statistics (BAPS) workshop will be held in conjunction with the 2014 Joint Statistical Meetings in Boston. An experimental MWM workshop will be held outside JSM for the first time this summer.
The ASA/NCTM committee also oversees the annual poster and project competitions for K–12 students, which offer opportunities for students to formulate questions and collect, analyze, and draw conclusions from data. Information about starting a regional poster competition is available on the Amstat News
website. We are seeking judges for the 2013 project competition that takes place via email over the summer and requires about four hours. If interested, email Jamis Perrett at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ASA/NCTM Joint Committee members also are involved in LOCUS, an NSF-funded project focused on developing assessments of statistical literacy. The intent of these assessments is to provide teachers, educational leaders, assessment specialists, and researchers with a valid and reliable assessment of statistics consistent with the (CCSS) and Pre-K-12 GAISE Framework. These assessments also could serve as a placement test or pre/post assessment for college students’ knowledge of statistics. For information about the LOCUS project, contact Jacobbe at email@example.com or visit the LOCUS website.
The ASA is now a member of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education Coalition that is involved in national policy efforts and works to support STEM programs for teachers and students. The ASA also is involved with outreach efforts, including booths at the NCTM annual meeting and USA Science & Engineering Festival. There are flyers available to download regarding education, careers in statistics, and contributions of statistics to society. A flyer is also available for download on the International Year of Statistics website (PDF download).
Undergraduate Statistics Education
The ASA/AMATYC Joint Committee is investigating ways to increase the professional development opportunities for two-year college teachers and working with the Consortium for the Advancement of Undergraduate Statistics Education (CAUSE) on outreach efforts. The ASA/MAA Joint Committee on Undergraduate Statistics and ASA Section on Statistical Education also are involved in efforts to enhance undergraduate education. Undergraduate statistics education resources are available at www.causeweb.org, www.amstat.org/education/resourcesforundergradteachers.cfm, and www.amstat.org/education/pdfs/ASA_flyer_educators.pdf (PDF download).
The Journal of Statistics Education (JSE) is beginning a webinar series through CAUSEweb in June. Authors will discuss their work and answer questions. The series will generally take place on the third Tuesday of each month from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. (Eastern time). Once the webinars are recorded, links will be available at the JSE website and CAUSEweb. Also visit CAUSEweb for information about other webinars and resources.
The Causality in Statistics Education Award is aimed at encouraging the teaching of basic causal inference in introductory statistics courses. The prize will be given in 2013, 2014, and 2015.
The Carnegie Foundation for Advancement of Teaching is leading the Statway project.