Forschungsarbeit: Statistical Literacy Among Secondary School Students

Statistical Literacy Among Secondary School Students

Achieving a Higher Level of Statistical Literacy

Studien zur Schulpädagogik, Band 86

Hamburg 2018, 112 Seiten
ISBN 978-3-339-10356-7 (Print), ISBN 978-3-339-10357-4 (eBook)

Critical interpretation, Didactics, Didaktik, Erziehungswissenschaft, Kritische Interpretation, Mathematics, Mathematics classes, Mathematik, Real-life situation, Realistic context, Secondary school, Statistical education, Statistical literacy, Statistical thinking, Statistics, Statistik, Statistikunterricht, Statistisches Denken, Weiterführende Schule

Zum Inhalt

The statistical education should be in step with modern didactic trends, which recommend the use of statistics in relation to everyday life and thus develop and improve statistical literacy. But as statistics is made part of mathematics instruction, solving statistical problems tends to be dominated by mathematical thinking, emphasizing mathematical models, methods and procedures, with the techniques being more important than the statistical problem itself. There is not enough emphasis placed on understanding the problems or on a critical interpretation of the results – it seems that mathematics becomes an obstacle to understanding statistical problems, and such teaching certainly does not help improve statistical literacy.

When preparing for our research study of mathematics instruction, within which statistics is taught, we discovered that grammar schools devote too little attention to statistical literacy, although there is some emphasis on the links between statistics and the real world. Doing statistical tasks procedurally and revising them with the use of procedures that students learn by heart often turns out to be less than successful, because students do not understand statistical concepts and are not aware of the purpose and effectiveness of the procedures.

So we developed an approach that should enable students to make sense and be aware of statistical concepts during the procedure of solving statistical problems or resolving statistical problem situations. Using realistic problems taken from real life, students develop a critical attitude towards information they gain, create new strategies of solving statistical problems, develop abilities to interpret results and critical attitudes towards interpreting results, thereby developing and improving statistical literacy itself.

The study we conducted showed that students’ knowledge is deeper if they participate in creating the knowledge, as in so doing they relate it logically to their prior knowledge. The problems taken from students’ everyday lives add to a more genuine relation of a problem situation to the students’ critical thinking when looking for a suitable solution strategy. When working towards solutions, students include their non-formal knowledge and previously gained experiences.

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