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Tenth Statistics Workshops for Math and Science Teachers Held in Baltimore

1 October 2017 12 views No Comment
Katherine Halvorsen, MWM Program Chair, and Rebecca Nichols, ASA Director of Education

    The American Statistical Association sponsored a two-day Meeting Within a Meeting (MWM) statistics workshop for middle- and high-school mathematics and science teachers August 1–2 at the annual 2017 Joint Statistical Meetings (JSM) in Baltimore, Maryland.

    This year, 27 attended the high-school workshop sessions and 14 attended the middle-school workshop sessions. Included were teachers, administrators, district and state specialists, mathematics and science teacher educators, and statisticians interested in professional development and teaching statistics at the middle- and high-school levels.

    Through the Years
    MWM 2007, Salt Lake City, Utah
    First MWM, focused on middle-school math and science teachers

    MWM 2008, Denver, Colorado
    Expanded to a two-day format that included separate strands for K–4, 5–8, and 9–12 teachers

    MWM 2009, Washington, DC
    Included parallel strands for K–4, 5–8, and 9–12 teachers on the first day with a field trip to the US Census Bureau on the second day

    MWM 2010, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    First international MWM workshop jointly sponsored by the ASA and Statistical Society of Canada

    MWM 2011, Miami Beach, Florida
    Included separate workshops for middle- and high-school teachers focused on the statistics content in the Common Core State Standards

    MWM 2012, in San Diego, California
    Included separate workshops for middle- and high-school teachers focused on the statistics content in the Common Core State Standards; provided teachers the opportunity to attend the International Census at School workshop for two additional days after MWM

    MWM 2013, Alexandria, Virginia
    Held at the ASA office after JSM as a combined workshop for middle- and high-school teachers

    MWM 2014, Boston, Massachusetts
    Offered separate workshops for middle- and high-school teachers

    MWM 2015, Seattle, Washington
    Offered separate workshops for middle- and high-school teachers

    MWM 2016, Chicago, Illinois
    Offered separate workshops for middle- and high-school teachers

    The 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 incorporating webinars and email is planned to help keep the teachers who attended MWM and the ASA in contact.

    The primary goals of MWM 2017 program were threefold:

    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.”

    Each workshop day consisted of three sessions and a closing period used to reflect on the day’s work and allow teachers to comment 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 and collecting data, measures of center and variability, investigating sampling variability, comparative inferences about two populations, investigating patterns of association in bivariate quantitative data, and free K–12 statistics education resources—including the ASA poster competition.

    The sessions in the high-school program on Tuesday included discussions about statistical questions and study design; recognizing data types and the appropriate methods for displaying, summarizing, and comparing them; using the normal distribution as a measure of extremeness; and using randomization tests to make inferences and justify conclusions.

    High-school teachers were given the option to attend the second day of the middle-school workshop on Wednesday (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 3.

    All teachers who attended were given a certificate of participation by the ASA. Also, teachers who register may receive 1 semester graduate credit hour through Adams State University. The ASA will provide follow-up activities throughout the 2017–2018 school year, including webinars, which are archived.

    Katherine Halvorsen of Smith College planned the MWM program, while ASA Director of Education Rebecca Nichols managed the website, registration and evaluation procedures, and logistics of setting up and advertising the conference. Presenters included ASA K–12 Statistical Ambassador Chris Franklin, ASA/NCTM Committee Chair Kaycie Maddox (Northeast Georgia RESA), Anna Martin (University of Auckland, New Zealand), and Halvorsen. Additionally, Wasserstein and ASA Vice President Kathy Ensor welcomed the attendees. Washington Statistical Society President Linda Young and other chapter members also welcomed the teachers and joined in the breakfast or lunch to network with them.

    Planning has begun for MWM 2018, which will be held in conjunction with JSM in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Program committee members are encouraging chapters to consider sponsoring one or more teachers from their area to attend the workshops. Registration will begin in March 2018. Questions should be directed to Nichols.

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