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ASA Census at School Program Hits 10,000-Student Milestone

1 December 2012 No Comment

Interest in classroom statistical literacy project grows among teachers

Getting Involved
The ASA is seeking champions to expand the U.S. Census at School program. Champions can be teachers who use the program in their classes or statisticians and statistics educators who assist teachers who are not familiar with statistics and statistical problemsolving. There are many ways to get involved, including sharing information about the program with local schools, writing lesson plans, and teaching local statistical education workshops for teachers. For those interested in teaching local workshops, the ASA will provide materials.

The ASA also is building online Census at School resources and seeking those interested in writing new U.S. Census at School lesson plans or adapting international Census at School lesson plans for U.S. data. Those leading workshops for grades 4–12 and pre-service teachers should encourage these educators to create lesson plans using U.S. Census at School data and submit them to the STatistics Education Web (STEW), an online bank of peer-reviewed lesson plans for K–12 teachers. STEW lesson plans for Census at School will be published on the statistical literacy program’s website.

Educators teaching or advising undergraduate or graduate statistics students can encourage or require their students to get involved in service learning by working with grades 4–12 teachers and students to incorporate Census at School and enhance statistical problemsolving skills.

Other ideas to enhance and expand the program are welcome. Contact Rebecca Nichols, ASA director of education, at rebecca@amstat.org about these and ongoing efforts regarding service-learning or other activities.

The American Statistical Association’s U.S. Census at School program, an international classroom project that engages primary and secondary school students in statistical problemsolving, has recorded its milestone 10,000th student, announces ASA Director of Education Rebecca Nichols.

The program, launched in 2000 in the United Kingdom by the Royal Statistical Society (RSS), promotes statistical literacy among schoolchildren. It is now international, with programs actively operating in Australia, Canada, Ireland, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In addition, statistics education leaders in other countries are exploring the possibility of offering the Census at School program to their country’s students.

The ASA launched the U.S. version of the program in 2010 in conjunction with that year’s decennial count of the country’s population by the U.S. Census Bureau. “Reaching 10,000 students is very gratifying, especially considering this milestone was achieved in a relatively short period—in only two years,” says Nichols. “Our statistical literacy project is an effective program to teach statistical concepts and principles to American buy cheap ativan students using their own real data and that of their national and international peers.”

In just two years, the U.S. Census at School program has reached 10,104 students in 409 schools across the country. A total of 466 teachers in 42 states and the District of Columbia are teaching statistical problemsolving to students using the program. Since the beginning of the current school year, the program has grown by nearly 2,000 students.

The ASA invites schools and teachers who are seeking a successful statistical literacy education project aligned with the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics to implement the Census at School program in their classrooms.

Census at School is a free, web-based project that engages students in grades 4–12 in statistical problemsolving using their own data. Under the direction of his or her teacher, each student in a class anonymously completes an online survey. Together, the students analyze their class census data and compare those results with results from random samples of participating students throughout the United States and the world.

The online survey consists of 13 questions common to children in every participating country and a few questions specific to children in each country. The common questions are related to measurement—length (height, arm span, foot length), travel time to school, reaction time to an online applet, time to complete an online memory test—and category—favorite sport or activity. The U.S. questionnaire has additional questions about text messaging, hours of sleep, technology usage, future plans, allergies and preferences (i.e., foods, music, school subject, their ideal super power). All questions lead to a variety of categorical and quantitative responses.

Students then engage in statistical problemsolving by formulating questions that can be answered with the data, collecting and selecting the appropriate data, analyzing the data, and making appropriate conclusions in context.

To teach measurement, data analysis, and statistics, teachers can extract the Census at School data submitted by their students and a random sample of data from other students in the U.S. or any participating country.

Census at School also helps raise awareness of civic duty among students. They learn about the importance of the U.S. Census, conducted every 10 years, to federal and state government planning for education, health, transportation, and other essential public services.

The Census at School program is self-contained and includes detailed instructions, five instructional webinars, a PowerPoint presentation, lesson plans, and other resources. Teachers comfortable with statistical concepts, problemsolving, and data analysis can immediately begin using the program in their classes.

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