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Statistical Education at ISI WSC 2011


The statistical education sessions at the WSC 2011 – both invited paper sessions and special topic sessions – provided an illustration of the great diversity of challenges and issues of interest and importance to the whole statistical community. This was also reflected in meetings of the ISLP (International Statistical Literacy Project) Advisory Board and country coordinators, of the IASE Executive, General Assembly and planning committee for ICOTS9 (the 9th International Conference on Teaching Statistics), and the ISLP and IASE awards in the Awards Ceremony.


The first session of IPS047, on applying results of statistics education research to teaching statistics, ranged over international research in probability education, model-eliciting activities for students and randomisation-based curricula, and research into pre-service teachers' mathematics scores and their readiness for teaching new data analysis curricula. IPS049 considered the question of integrating qualitative research methods in introductory statistics courses and generated considerable discussion, fuelled by presentations, including a video, which highlighted statistical learning within the big picture of learning and real contexts. IPS048, on teaching courses in probability modelling, reflected increasing interest in the need for reform in the teaching and learning of probability, linking with data and data-driven developments in statistics education over the past two decades. At the same time as IPS048, STS008 reviewed recent initiatives involving the teaching of statistical literacy and critical thinking to help students read and interpret social statistics.


IPS050, in discussing the opportunities and pitfalls of e-learning, virtual learning environments and open education resources, and IPS051, joint with IAOS, on enhancing statistics education through international cooperation and the use of international data, demonstrated just two directions of the diversity of collaborative and technological opportunities and challenges available in modern statistical education. At the same time as IPS051, a special and very important session, IPS107, aimed to prepare the ground for the “Youth Theme day” planned for WSC 2013 through presentations and discussion on engaging, inspiring and empowering students across all levels of education, including teachers and graduates.


IPS052, on teaching sampling techniques in agriculture, biology and social sciences, and IPS017, organised by the ISI Committee on Risk Analysis with IASE assistance, were not only on at the same time, but also illustrated both the challenges and opportunities in partnering statistical and statistical education developments.


STS034, in considering a range of issues and empirical evidence in changes, influences and developments in students’ attitudes in learning statistics, provided an appropriate finale to a series of thought-provoking sessions that tackled a range of issues in statistical education far greater than the number of presentations, and are of relevance to the whole statistical community.