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Plenary Session 5. International Forum on Statistical Literacy:
Statistical Literacy, Statistical Numeracy and Developing Society's Statistical Health and Richness

Keynote Speakers

Helen MacGillivray (Australia), Chair
Luigi Biggeri (Italy)
Lisbeth Cordani (Brazil)
Pali Lehohla (South Africa)
Jessica Utts (USA)

Plenary Session Abstract

During the past decade, many statisticians and statistical educators have discussed or been involved in matters ranging from the accreditation of statisticians to education for statistical thinking to the interaction of statistics and information technology to the problems of society numeracy and mathematics education. Even the ICOTS6 theme itself has produced considerable discussion amongst statisticians as to whether we should talk about statistical literacy or statistical numeracy.

What is common in all these topics of discussion, debate and involvement, is the understanding that statistics is integral to an extensive range of functions of society and to many disciplines, and that society's statistical health depends on facilitating development of, and access to, a full and diverse range of statistical capabilities. That is, as with mathematics, the totality of society's statistical health and strength depends on its ongoing development of the continuum of statistical understanding, abilities and skills, from universal basic statistical literacy through the full spectrum to highly sophisticated scientific and management capabilities. With the addition of a suitable description of some form of universal basic statistical literacy, the definitions of types of statistical ability and skills discussed in Bartholomew's Royal Statistical Society's Presidential address (1995), illustrate this continuum.

Facilitating the development, resourcing and ongoing nurturing of this continuum is an enormous challenge. The forum speakers, together with other contributors and questions, will comment on just some aspects of this challenge from both international and personal perspectives.


Keynote Speaker Biography

Helen MacGillivray, Forum chair
Associate Professor, Statistical Sciences
School of Mathematical Sciences, QUT
GPO Box 2434, Brisbane Q 4001
Tel: +61-7-38642337
Fax: +61-7-38642310

Prof. Luigi Biggeri
Prof. Luigi Biggeri got a B.Sc. Degree in Economics at the University of Florence in 1963 and a MA degree in Management and a Post-Graduate degree in Applied Statistics from the University of Padua (Italy), in 1965.

He was appointed Assistant Professor of Statistics in 1965, Associate Professor of Economic Statistics in 1972 and Full Professor of Economic and Business Statistics in 1980 at the University of Florence (Italy), where he still works. He is giving lectures in two courses: Business Statistics and Statistical Methods for the Evaluation of Policies and Programs.

Presently, Prof. Biggeri is the President of ISTAT, Italian National Statistical Institute (2001-2005); Vice President of the Italian National Evaluation Committee of Higher Education (1999-2003); Council Member of the Italian National Statistical Institute (ISTAT) (1999-2003); and Chairman of the American Statistical Association Committee on International Relations in Statistics (1996-2001). From 1987 up to now he worked as Senior Project Advisor of the China Projects (FAO/ITALY/CHINA Projects) for the organization and implementation of the First Agricultural Census of China. He is also a member of some Scientific Committees of national and international Reviews.

Prof. Biggeri was President of the Italian Statistical Society (1996-2000), member and President of the Italian National Committee on Statistics, at Prime Minister Cabinet (1993-1996 and 1996-1999), and member of the Council and Vice President of the International Statistical Institute (1987-1991 and 1991-1993); For the ISI, he was Chairman of the Board of the World Numeracy Program (1993-1999) and for the Italian Statistical Society responsible for the development of Statistics Literacy in Italy.

He has published more then one hundred scientific works (books, articles, invited papers to congresses, etc.) on: economic and business statistics, organization of complex surveys, quality of data, organization of statistical information systems, protection of privacy, evaluation statistical methods, evaluation of efficiency, effectiveness and quality in higher education, statistics literacy, and so on.

Prof. Biggeri was born in Bibbiena (Italy), and is resident of Florence, Italy.


Lisbeth Cordani
Lisbeth Kaiserlian Cordani is Professor of Statistics at the Maua Institute of Technology, Sao Paulo, Brazil, since 1997. She had a former position as Assistant Professor at the Institute of Mathematics and Statistics of the University of Sao Paulo (IME-USP) for 25 years. For many years she has taught courses on linear models and related fields, and also introductory statistics at the undergraduate level, for different areas of knowledge.

Moreover, she has supervised many students in statistical consultancy, within the Center of Applied Statistics of the IME-USP. Her present field of interest is linked to education in statistics. Around 1990 she was elected, for a mandate of two years, to the Council of the International Biometric Society (IBS), as Brazilian representative, and more recently she was elected and served for two years as Vice-president of the Brazilian region of the IBS. At present she is member of the Editorial Board of the Revista Brasileira de Estatistica. Lisbeth has been recently nominated Vice-president of the IASE for 2001-2003.


Pali J. Lehohla
Having run both the 1985 and 1991 population censuses in Bophuthatswana, Pali Lehohla was recruited to Stats SA in 1995 to take charge of the implementation of the 1996 national population census. Having heard about CensusAtSchool in the UK he opted to implementing the same strategy for South Africa to call people to participate in Census 2001, but more importantly, to enhance statistical literacy in society. Mr. Lehohla will be willing to share his experiences with all those who have participated in this undertaking.

Mr. Lehohla holds a bachelor's degree from the National University of Lesotho and a post-graduate diploma in demography from the United Nations Regional Institute of Population Studies at the University of Ghana.

On 22 November 2000 Cabinet appointed Mr. Lehohla as South Africa's first Statistician-General.


Jessica Utts
Professor Utts is a Professor in the Department of Statistics at University of California, Davis, where she has been on the faculty since 1978. She is very interested in applied statistics, is well known for her interest in statistics literacy and has published most extensively on the use of statistics in parapsychology. For example in 1995, with Professor Ray Hyman (University of Oregon), she prepared a U.S. Government sponsored report assessing the statistical evidence for psychic functioning in research which received wide-spread media coverage.  She has written several illuminating statistics books including "Seeing Through Statistics" and with Robert Heckard "Mind On Statistics".

Department of Statistics
University of California
Davis, CA 95616
Fax: 530-752-7099

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