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Session 2E. Sociocultural Aspects of the Learning of Statistics at the School Level

Session Organizer(s)

Paul Cobb (USA)

Session Abstract

In drawing on sociocultural theory to formulate instructional designs and to analyze learning at the school level, the presenters in this session focus on the influence of social and cultural processes on classroom learning. When they restrict their attention to the classroom, researchers who adopt this theoretical perspective attempt to tease out key features of the classroom learning environment. To this end, they analyze the social norms and content-specific statistical practices established by a particular classroom community. Analyses of this type serve to document the actual classroom environment in which the students' statistical learning occurs. As a consequence, the results of such analyses feed back to inform the improvement of instructional designs.

A second line of research developed by sociocultural researchers bears directly on issues of cultural diversity and equity in statistics education. This line of research focuses on the relation between the statistical practices established in the classroom and the out-of-school practices in which students participate. Until recently, the emphasis was on identifying possible mismatches that could give rise to inequities for particular groups of students. More recently, diversity in students' cultural backgrounds has been cast in more positive terms as an instructional resource to be leveraged rather than an obstacle to be overcome. Work of this type has implications for instructional design in that it serves to clarify instructional starting points.

A third line of research focuses on people's statistical reasoning as they participate in out-of-school practices. The research has the potential to inform the goals of school instruction in that it is premised on the assumption that overall purpose of school instruction is to prepare students for increasingly substantial participation in a range of out-of-school practices. These practices include those involved in democratic citizenship as well as those of particular occupational and workplace settings.


Presentation 2E1 Learning, Identity, and Statistical Data Analysis Paul Cobb (USA)
Lynn Hodge (USA)
Presentation 2E2 Sharing Ideas and Statistical Learning: The Role of Peer Interactions in School Context Carolina Carvalho (Portugal)
Margarida Cesar (Portugal)
Presentation 2E3 Are Statistical Meanings Contingent on Setting? The Case of Nursing
Celia Hoyles (UK)
Richard Noss (UK)

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