MathEd Coursepack for Statistical Methods
"I'm teaching a statistics class in 14 days--what do I do?" We have heard this multiple times from alumni who call back to ask for help on stats, wishing they hadn't sold back their stats textbook!
Many students who will become high school math teachers take a statistics class aimed at non-teaching math and science majors. This coursepack is to help pre-service teachers think about how they will need to teach stats in their classrooms.
Some other schools have a course specifically for teachers. You can find many of these by doing an internet search for
"statistics for teachers" (including the quotes), for example, or any similar search.
Standards, Reports, Etc.
- The Common Core State Standards for Mathematics are a nearly-nationwide description of what should be learned in K-12 math, and they include a lot more probability and statistics than most previous curriculum standards.
Perhaps you should read through them and make a list of all the prob/stats topics for yourself, then keep track of which of them you learn during your college statistics course!
- More detailed illustrations/tasks for the statistics standards at Illustrative Mathematics.
- Khan Academy videos aligned with Common Core State Standards; once on the page, search for statistics, or probability.
- The Guidelines for Assessment and Instruction in Statistics Education (GAISE) reports, from the
American Statistical Association, also talk about what is important in statistics.
- Not everyone will be teaching Advanced Placement Statistics (and just one college stats course isn't enough preparation!), but knowing what is in the
AP Stats curriculum is a good idea!
- A guide regarding the preparation of math teachers was prepared at a
on the Mathematical Education of Teachers (MET2). It discussed whether typical college statistics courses are enough to prepare future teachers for what they will need to teach.
You can read their recommendations here, in their
Statistics and Probability report.
(local .docx copy, local html copy)
- Each year there's a statistics project/poster contest for grades K-12. They have posted a lot of good guidelines for what makes a stats project or poster good; of course they apply to college-level projects too.
- Statway, a curriculum that combines developmental math and statistics (mostly at community colleges).
Statistics Education Journals
Good news! The main journals on statistics education are freely available online.
You should consider subscribing to their email updates.
You should also consider
subscribing to the AP Statistics email list (and AP Calculus, too; same link). You can also read through the email archive.
Statistics Education Conferences
Here are some conferences; it is often helpful to read through their lists of talks to get new ideas for teaching.
Also, consider joining some of those professional societies to learn more about the profession you are entering. Student memberships are often somewhat cheap (under $50/year?) and it looks good on your resume!
Fun Stats Reading
Here are some blogs that focus on the teaching of statistics:
I found them by searching for: blogs on teaching statistics.
You should probably try that search for yourself, in case any new good ones have popped up.
These blogs are a good source of examples, but are not particularly focused on teaching methods:
Common AP Stats textbooks:
There are also study guides for AP Stats by the usual AP study guide companies (for example, Barron's and Princeton Review).
Books on research on stats-ed, or ideas on teaching stats:
- The Practice of Statistics, Second Edition by Dan Yates, David S. Moore and Daren S. Starnes, which is the most popular AP Stats book.
- Stats: Modeling the World by Bock, Velleman, and De Veaux
- Introduction to Statistics and Data Analysis, 4th Edition by Peck, Olsen and Devore
- Statistics: From Data to Decision, 2nd Edition by Watkins, Scheaffer, and Cobb
- Statistics: The Art and Science of Learning From Data by Agresti and Franklin
- Teaching Statistics: A Bag of Tricks, by Gelman and Nolan
- Teaching Statistics: Resources for Undergraduate Instructors, edited by Thomas L. Moore
- Assessment methods in statistical education : an international perspective / edited by Penelope Bidgood, Neville Hunt, Flavia Jolliffe
- Focus in high school mathematics : reasoning and sense making in statistics and probability / by J. Michael Shaughnessy, Beth Chance, Henry Kranendonk
- Teaching statistics in school mathematics-challenges for teaching and teacher education:a joint ICMI/IASE study / edited by Carmen Batanero, Gail Burrill, Chris Reading
- Statistical questions from the classroom / J. Michael Shaughnessy and Beth Chance, with George Cobb, Sandra Takis, Jacqueline Stewart.
Things to KNOW
Note sheets are great, but sometimes you just need to know things without looking them up,
especially when you are in front of a class. Here are some of them:
And, things to know on your calculator:
- How to compute a mean and standard deviation from a data set
- addition rule for probability
- conditional probability formula
- How to compute or invert a z-score: z_i = (x_i - mu)/sigma or (x_i - xbar)/SD
- the Binomial Distribution probability mass function and mean
- The generic confidence interval formula : estimate +/- constant*(SE of estimate)
- The basic formula for many test statistics
- all the stuff under the Stat key
- statplot window -- use all the 6 types (box&whisker, normal prob. plot like AP Stats does)
- calculator automatically stores the residuals so you can plot them.
- RandomInteger at least, possibly RandomNormal, etc.
- need to turn on the display of the correlation coefficient
During the Winter 2012 semester, we did a study about methods of teaching the association/correlation unit. One section of the Statistical Methods class was the "treatment" section, and they received the new curriculum materials we wrote. Here are some of the plans and assignments from the study.
- Association-related items in the Common Core State Standards, our own list.
- Unit plan for association
- In-class Excel worksheets, part 1
- In-class Excel worksheets, part 2
Homework assignments (email to request solution keys):
- Categorical association, for both teachers and nonteachers
- Categorical association, for teachers
- Quantitative association, part 1, for both teachers and nonteachers
Quantitative association, parts 1 and 2, for teachers, and
- Quantitative association, part 2, for both teachers and nonteachers
- Quantitative association, correlation vs causation, for both teachers and nonteachers
- Journal article reading assignment on correlation vs causation, etc.
Other Stats Places
These aren't particularly related to being a stats teacher, but are helpful as you learn statistics for yourself, or as resources for your future students.
You can find many lists of statistical software with your favorite search engine. Here are some that are designed for educational purposes:
Prof. Ross uses Excel when teaching statistics, even though there are some known bugs and inaccurate documentation. His opinion is that the skills gained in Excel in his class outweigh the bugs. For more about the bugs, see
- TI-83/84 or TI-Nspire: Simple internet searches will find a lot of material. Here is one particularly good site
- TinkerPlots is commercial software for learning about graphing data, aimed at grades 4-9.
- Fathom is commercial software for statistics and calculus, aimed at secondary students.
- R (yes, just a single letter) is free software for doing high-power statistics. There is even a way to
link it to Excel.