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Presentation 2A2. Ratios and Rates in the Learning of Statistics

Jose Luis Cortina (USA)


Presentation Abstract
This paper presents findings from a ten-session long classroom teaching experiment designed to support students' increasingly sophisticated understanding of ratio and rate units of measure (e.g., income per capita, crime rate). A conjectured learning trajectory was designed and tested through the enactment of an instructional sequence. Significant changes in how students dealt with ratio comparison problems in the context of measurement, and in how they made quantitative sense of ratio and rate units of measure, indicated that the learning trajectory was viable.

These findings are relevant for statistics education in two ways: 1) normalized rates and ratios are important mathematical tools used in science and in social sciences to organize data. The possibility of engaging students in statistical analysis of many phenomena from these fields can be constrained by their understanding of these types of units of measurement; 2) the construction and interpretation of many of these units of measure are tightly linked to statistical ideas and constructs such as "average" and "arithmetic mean.


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