JSM 2011 Online Program

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Abstract Details

Activity Number: 321
Type: Invited
Date/Time: Tuesday, August 2, 2011 : 10:30 AM to 12:20 PM
Sponsor: Section on Statistical Education
Abstract - #300181
Title: Strategies for Stimulating Statistical Literacy and Understanding Quantitative Evidence in Higher Education in the UK
Author(s): Gillian Lancaster*+
Companies: Lancaster University
Address: Postgraduate Statistics Centre, Lancaster, International, LA1 4YF, UK
Keywords: statistical literacy ; quantitative methods ; higher education ; postgraduate

Statistical literacy plays an important part in our every day lives, helping us to make sense of news reports, magazine articles and health scares that can be over-sensationalised by the media. Yet there is currently a great need to encourage people to engage with, understand and question the quantitative information around us. Many courses on statistical methods are unpopular, as people cannot see the value of learning statistics and view it as a recipe collection of hard-to-grasp methods. The problem of disengagement is seen across the spectrum - in schools, in the workplace and in Higher Education, and this has stimulated a number of international initiatives including the Royal Statistical Society's 'getstats' campaign and the International Statistical Literacy Project (ISLP). Various frameworks have been proposed to stimulate learners' interest and take many guises. Problem-based learning for example can be both a data-driven process with little contextual motivation or a method of independent self-directed learning. This paper gives examples of some of the teaching strategies and networking initiatives undertaken by the Postgraduate Statistics Centre, Lancaster University.

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