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K–12 Educators Gather at JSM for Meeting Within a Meeting

1 October 2018 1,238 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 July 31–August 1 at the annual 2018 Joint Statistical Meetings (JSM) in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

This year, there were 29 participants, including middle- and high-school teachers, teacher educators, and statisticians interested in professional development and teaching statistics at the middle- and high-school levels. Workshop participants were from both Canada and the United States.

ASA President Lisa LaVange and ASA Executive Director Ronald Wasserstein speak at 2018’s Meeting Within a Meeting.

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 MWM 2018 program was 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. A secondary goal was to encourage cooperation between mathematics and science teachers in the teaching of statistics and to make connections between teachers and local statisticians.

“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 Guidelines for Assessment and Instruction in Statistics Education (GAISE) Report and other standards relevant to the audience.

Middle-school teachers attended the workshop sessions on both Tuesday and Wednesday, participating 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 statistics as a tool for access and equity.

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 or statistics education sessions at the Joint Statistical Meetings.

All teachers who attended were given a certificate of participation by the ASA. Also, teachers who register may receive one semester graduate credit hour through Adams State University. The ASA will provide follow-up activities throughout the 2018–2019 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-Marie Fergusson (University of Auckland, New Zealand), National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics President Connie Schrock (Emporia State University), and Halvorsen. Additionally, Wasserstein, ASA President Lisa LaVange, and Statistical Society of Canada (SSC) Statistical Education Section Chair Bruce Dunham welcomed attendees. Other ASA and SSC members from Vancouver and Washington also welcomed the teachers and joined in the workshop.

Planning has begun for MWM 2019, which will be held in conjunction with JSM in Denver, Colorado. MWM 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 2019. Questions should be directed to Nichols.

MWM Through the Years

MWM 2017, Baltimore, Maryland
Offered separate workshops for middle- and high-school teachers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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