Components of Statistical Thinking and Implications for Instruction and Assessment.Report as inadecuate

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This paper focuses on statistical thinking as the third arm of statistical development. The paper opens with a survey of recent definitions of statistical thinking and then attempts to differentiate statistical thinking from statistical literacy and statistical reasoning. Implications for instruction are traced, emphasizing beginning courses for nonstatistics majors. Several suggestions are given to develop habits of statistical thinking in students. The final section of the paper suggests methods and concrete examples for assessing students' ability to think statistically. Literacy can be viewed as understanding and interpreting statistical information presented, and reasoning can be narrowly viewed as working through the tools and concepts in the statistics course. Statistical thinking enables the thinker to move beyond what is taught to question and investigate the issues and data involved. These suggestions are given for students developing the statistical thinking habit: (1) start from the beginning; (2) understand the statistical process as a whole; (3) always be skeptical; (4) think about the variables involved; (5) always relate the data to the context; (6) understand and believe the relevance of statistics; and (7) think beyond the textbook. To develop whether students are applying statistical thinking, problems should be designed to test student reflexes, thought patterns, and creativity in novel situations. (Contains 25 references.) (SLD)

Descriptors: Curriculum, Definitions, Higher Education, Instruction, Statistics, Student Evaluation, Thinking Skills

Author: Chance, Beth L.


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