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Session 8B. Data Analysis and Statistical Learning

Session Organizer(s)

Kay McClain (USA)

Session Abstract

In recent years, statistics has become the focus of increased attention in many education reform documents in the United States (cf. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 1989, 1991; National Science Teachers Association, 1994; Shaughnessy, 1992). Discussions about the need for added emphasis on statistics in school curricula center on two types of justifications. The first refers to developments within the discipline. The metaphor that emerges from these justifications is that of students as junior research statisticians. The second type of justification refers to the increasingly prominent role of statistical reasoning in both in and out of work related activities. The emphasis in this rationale is on informed citizenship, and the image that emerges for students is that of consumers of others' analyses. In contrast to these two common rationales, the presenters in this session find a third justification to be far more compelling - that of reasoning with data in relatively sophisticated ways. The image that emerges for the students is then neither that of junior research statistician nor informed citizen. Instead, it is of students participating in both the development and critique of databased arguments.

Following this argument, the research reports that will be presented in this session will focus on current efforts in the area of data analysis and statistical learning aimed at supporting students' understanding. In particular, the participants will report the results of work conducted in classrooms and clinical settings during which researchers worked both (1) to tease out specific aspects of students' understandings and (2) to support students' developing understandings. A second goal of the presentations is to use the research findings from the classroom-based research efforts as a vehicle for discussing important concepts and how their development can be supported. In particular, the notions of variation and distribution can be seen to anchor the cross-grade investigations of data analysis and statistical learning that will be presented.


Presentation 8B1 Supporting Teachers' Understanding of Statistical Data Analysis: Learning Trajectories as Tools for Change Kay McClain (USA)
Presentation 8B2 Students' Use of "Modal Clumps" to Summarize and Compare Data Clifford Konold (USA)
Amy Robinson (USA)
Khalimahtul Khalil (USA)
Alexander Pollatsek (USA)
Arnold Well (USA)
Rachel Wing (USA)
Susanne Mayr (Germany)
Presentation 8B3 Structuring Natural and Measurement Variation as Distribution in the Elementary Grades Richard Lehrer (USA)
Leona Schauble (USA)

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