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Ann Arbor Chapter Hosts Seminar on the CCSS-M Statistics Standards for Grades 6-12

1 October 2013 194 views No Comment
Stephanie Casey, Brenda Gunderson, and Anamaria Kazanis

    The Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSS-M) include much more statistics content than previous standards, especially at the middle- and secondary-school levels. Their adoption by the state of Michigan (along with 44 other states) has created the opportunity and necessity for nearly all middle and secondary mathematics teachers to be prepared to teach a substantial amount of statistics, a major change from current practice. An essential component of that preparation is enhancement of teachers’ statistical knowledge for teaching.

    Photo courtesy of Brenda Gunderson

    Photo courtesy of Brenda Gunderson
    Seminar participants work with Texas Instruments graphing calculators.

    The Ann Arbor Chapter’s statistics education advisor and board member, Stephanie Casey, recognized the need to support teachers in their preparation to implement these novel standards for statistics. “I was a high-school teacher for 14 years and knew first-hand that statistics was the content area teachers felt least comfortable teaching, as did I when I first came out of college with 28 credit hours of mathematics and only three hours of statistics. But through excellent professional development experiences, I became much more knowledgeable about statistics and confident in my ability to teach it. I wanted to make it possible for other teachers to have the same experience.”

    Photo courtesy of Brenda Gunderson

    Photo courtesy of Brenda Gunderson
    A seminar participant adds her data to a graph during an icebreaker activity.

    Casey developed a proposal to produce a seminar called GAISEing into the Statistics Common Core. Anamaria Kazanis, Ann Arbor Chapter president, requested sponsorship for the seminar from the Ann Arbor Chapter board and invited Brenda Gunderson to become part of the organizing team. Coordinating with statistics education experts from the two local universities, the chapter sponsored this three-day summer seminar for 32 mathematics teachers (grades 6–12) in Michigan. The seminar used the ASA’s Guidelines for Assessment and Instruction in Statistics Education (GAISE) as a framework to help the participants learn how to effectively teach the statistics standards of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics.

    The goals of the seminar were for participants to learn ways to use the GAISE statistical investigation process to teach the statistics standards, including classroom-ready activities to actively engage students in the learning of statistics, understand the learning trajectories for statistics topics in the CCSS-M, and to have a deeper understanding of the statistical topics in the CCSS-M.

    A unique feature of this seminar was the involvement of graduate student instructors from the University of Michigan. “Karen and Mackenzie were excited to be involved in this seminar,” said Gunderson, who works with and trains many graduate students at the University of Michigan. “They took lead roles in the planning and presenting of material and brought their own learning and teaching experience and new perspectives to the collaboration.” Their direct work with experienced faculty helps them grow as educators and reflect on their experience.

    The seminar was deemed a success by the participants and presenters. All the participants who responded to the evaluation survey identified the seminar as excellent and a great learning experience. More than 80% of the respondents reported more confidence [agree/strongly agree] in their ability to do the statistical processes included in the standards addressed in the seminar. A participant wrote, “Presenters were absolutely amazing! What an invaluable experience!”

    It was a worthwhile experience for the presenters as well, connecting them with local teachers and leaving them with the feeling they made a difference. “The seminar was a very worthwhile effort and the excellent instruction made it a great accomplishment,” said Kazanis.

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