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our students to learn statistical skills by enrolling in one college-level statistics course. We simply ignored the fact that the vast majority of students had never had the opportunity to cultivate statistical thinking skills at the elementary-, middle-, and high-school levels. As a result, students exposed at college often did not develop the ability to reason statistically. Times have changed. Today we are able to teach statistical topics and reasoning skills in K-12 (and at the college introductory level) using modern technology and activities oriented to problem-solving. Technology allows us to focus on analyzing data from real studies, often with large data sets. And we can now use simulation rather than mathematical theory to understand why our analytical methods are successful. Technology also allows for the exploration and visualization of the data, so that instructional time can be spent interpreting graphical and numerical representations and understanding key statistical concepts, such as margin of error and statistical significance. Statistical reasoning was promoted for inclusion in the K-12 math curriculum as early as the 1960s, but in the 1980s we began to see a formal movement toward quantitative literacy in K-12. In the early 1990s, we developed Advanced Placement Statistics. The notion of teaching statistics at the K-12 level gained national attention with revision of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics standards in 2000 and the publication of the ASA Pre-K-12 GAISE [Guidelines for Assessment and Instruction in Statistics Education] Framework in 2007. The recently approved K-12 Common Core State Standards in Mathematics (adopted now by 47 states, including Georgia) promotes statistical reasoning skills at the middle-school and secondary levels. As a statistics professor of more than 30 years, I have always asked the question: “Why am I expected to teach a college student in one semester how to develop sound statistical thinking when the basis for developing this ability has not been formed in the 13 years before college?” Statistical reasoning skills are needed by all students, regardless of whether they attend college. The emphasis on statistics in the K-12 curriculum is therefore a major step forward, and thankfully the new Common Core now makes the acquisition of these skills not only possible but likely.

The Franklin File: Christine Franklin, Lothar Tresp Honoratus Honors Professor in Statistics, University of Georgia. Education: BA, Political Science, minor in Mathematics; and M.A., Mathematics and Statistics, University of North Carolina, Greensboro. Work History: Senior Lecturer and Undergraduate Coordinator, UGA Department of Statistics. Research Interests: Statistics Education K-16; student learning, pedagogy and assessment. Fifty publications in the field of statistics education; Lead author of two textbooks, and coauthor of the Navigation Series book in Data Analysis published by NCTM for grades 9-12. Research Funding: National Science Foundation, and the American Statistical Association Teaching: Two-semester introductory honors statistics sequence (Stat 2100H and Stat 4110H); and statistics for K-12 teachers (Stat 4/6070 and Stat 4/6050) Honors: Franklin was lead writer for the ASA Pre-K–12 GAISE framework that served as the basis for the statistics strand in the Common Core State Standards. Past AP statistics chief reader (nation’s lead faculty advisor). Honored in 2006 with the Mu Sigma Rho National Statistical Education Award. Franklin is an elected Fellow of ASA honored for her work in statistics education. Interests outside work: Cherishes time with her husband and two sons. Devoted runner, avid reader. Last summer completed a 90-mile trek over 11 days in the backcountry at the Boy Scout ranch Philmont in New Mexico, her third trip. Serves as an adult advisor with the Boy Scouts. Also served 10 years on the Oconee County School Board, seven as chair.

Contact Christine Franklin by email:

ugaresearch Fall 2012  

ugaresearch is a publication of the Office for the Vice President for Research at The University of Georgia

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