In most countries at the secondary school level, the statistics curriculum
is a part of the mathematics curriculum. If we have a look on the papers
on statistical education at the college or at the university published
ten years ago, we can see that the requirements are practically adaptable
to the actual secondary level. With the changes occurring in mathematical
education at the secondary school level, with the development of interdisciplinary
class projects especially for higher grades (9-12), with the increasing
availability of computers at school, the teaching of statistics has changed.
We are now in the context of democratization of mathematics as called
by David Vere-Jones in 1995.
Teaching means content and pedagogy. But first, what are the objectives
of statistical education at the secondary school level? Clearly, they
are not the same as at the college and the university. I will see at least
two goals: general education of all citizens and scientific education.
To reach the objectives, we must define the content, the pedagogy and
the use of technology as defined by David Moore (2001) for undergraduate
students. It is amazing to see that we are introducing at the secondary
school level the proposals that were made ten years ago for the students
at the university. But, things are not exactly the same: more powerful
technology, different students and contents to be adapted.
Some problems related to the secondary school must be solved: statistics
is taught by mathematics teachers meanwhile at the university, there are
academics who are also statisticians. The absence of statisticians (academics
or not) in the secondary schools and their absence also in the thought
groups about the evolution of statistical education at this level is a
major problem. Besides, we cannot wait for a new generation of teachers
to boost statistical education. We also have to provide teachers with
appropriate teaching resources. Third, a last but important problem at
the end of the secondary is the assessment in statistics and probability
which has not the same intensity at the college or at the university.
There is a great variability in the situations among the countries: in
the United States, we can see the increased cooperation between the MAA
and the ASA; in France, the birth of a new curriculum is a little bit
more painful. Even if my presentation is general, I will provide some
comments for France. We are preparing a survey among the French mathematics
teachers to know their feelings about these changes, changes which are
a part of a more general change in mathematics teaching.
To conclude, depending on the situations, we will try to assess how far
we can go in the statistics curriculum.
David Vere-Jones, 1995: The coming of age of statistical education, International
Statistical Review, 63 (1), 3-23.
David Moore, 2001: Undergraduate programs and the future of academic statistics,
The American Statistician, 55 (1), 1-6.