Centre for Statistical Education

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Article Index
Statistical Awareness
Citizen's knowledge
Levels of understanding
A Programme of Study

Statistical Awareness

Here you will find our proposals for the extent, level and form of awareness and knowledge of statistics that every citizen should have. Implicit in the proposals is that the material should be taught through a problem solving approach, similar to the paradigm followed by practising statisticians or people carrying out scientific inquiry.

We describe three levels of knowledge and awareness: foundation; intermediate; and advanced. The foundation level would be roughly equivalent to what is currently studied in statistics by UK learners by the age of 14. Intermediate level corresponds to what is studied by the age of 16 (UK GCSE Mathematics), while Advanced level corresponds to what learners study by the age of 19 (content of some UK GCE ‘A’ level Mathematics, Statistics or other equivalent subjects).

1 Components of Statistical Education

  1. The diagram here emphasises our belief that all students should be made statistically aware through a core that teaches a strategy for learning statistics through an iterative cycle of activities. These are represented by the five (yellow) rectangular boxes in the centre of the diagram.
  2. The next outer ring of boxes broadly divides topics into three areas of application, scientific, official data and surveys. A Foundation level qualification is represented by the (brief) outline of content in the first continuous rectangular band of statistical literacies.
  3. The second rectangular band represents Intermediate and the outer band Advanced.

This diagram emphasises the nature of the statistics that students should be able to do at the various levels. At each level they should know about the techniques and sort of questions that might be asked at the next level and about the more complex contexts suitable for the next level.

As you move out from Foundation through Intermediate to Advanced:

  1. the contexts will become more complicated and more specialised;
  2. the techniques introduced at one level will become used in more complex contexts and tasks at the next level.

Every student that leaves school should have the knowledge and skills defined through using the core statistics problem solving paradigm together with the Intermediate Level material briefly described within the second outer rectangular band of statistical literacy. These should be part of their common knowledge skills and attributes for entering work. In section 2 we expand on the ideas behind the proposal. In section 3 we define the levels of understanding that should be acquired for intermediate statistical education.