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Students today are constantly bombarded with information from various media, much of it based on data. Statistical literacy skills are critical if students are to make socially responsible decisions.
These skills are developed through the Statistics and Probability content strand of the Australian Curriculum: Mathematics, in conjunction with the proficiency strands – Understanding, Fluency, Problem solving and Reasoning. Numeracy, a cross-curriculum general capability, links statistical literacy to most other disciplines in the curriculum.
Statistics involves investigating meaningful, context-based questions using data. An investigation usually follows a pathway – the question, data collection, data representation, summarising of the data and ultimately a conclusion.
Problem-solving experiences that exemplify these investigative stages help build understanding of the fundamental big ideas that underpin statistics. Students should develop fluency with these skills, as well as reasoning for decision-making. Students can use statistical literacy skills in other school subjects and in aspects of their lives outside school.
The underlying big ideas forming the foundation for meaningful, context-based statistical investigations are: variation, expectation, distribution, randomness and informal inference.
Misunderstandings can affect the proper use of statistics and the decision-making process. Misunderstandings can occur at any stage of a statistical investigation.
Statistics is best learned through an investigative approach, focussing on the various stages of the statistical process. Applications should occur in meaningful contexts.
Assessment approaches in statistics vary widely due to the range of purposes for engaging in a statistical investigation in different contexts, and to the needs of the student and teacher in terms of learning being monitored.
Student activities that appear in other parts of the drawer have been collected here.
All downloadable files, such as student worksheets, teacher notes, activity templates and video transcripts, are available here.
The Statistics drawer was written by a team from the Faculty of Education at the University of Tasmania and the Mathematical Association of South Australia, led by Prof. Jane Watson, University of Tasmania.