ASA Mentors Partner with AP Statistics Teachers

Roxy Peck -- Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
Rob Gould, UCLA

Newsletter for the Section on Statistical Education
Volume 10, Number 2 (Fall 2004)

Last summer, 32 AP Statistics teachers participated in an intensive professional development experience as part of the INSPIRE (INsight into Statistical Practice, Instruction and Reasoning) project. Through this NSF-funded project, UCLA and Cal Poly -- San Luis Obispo, in collaboration with the American Statistical Association, work with teachers to prepare them to teach the content of the introductory statistics course. The first-year experience consisted of a weeklong summer workshop followed by a year-long online course designed specifically for secondary teachers.

Teachers who successfully completed the first year were eligible to participate in a second-year enrichment experience designed to provide participants with experience solving statistical problems under the guidance of a practicing statistician working in industry or government. In July of this year, twelve dedicated teachers returned to Cal Poly for a "Beyond AP" style weeklong workshop planned to prepare them for project work by introducing statistical methods beyond those covered in the introductory statistics course. Instructors Beth Chance, Allan Rossman, Robin Lock, and Tom Short taught sessions on statistical consulting and statistical software, and a variety of statistical methods, including analysis of variance, multiple regression, logistic regression.

At the completion of the workshop, each teacher was then matched to an ASA mentor who will guide them through the process of developing a project proposal and then as the teachers carry out the proposed project. ASA mentors include: Karla Ballman, Rob Carver, Jimmy Elfird, Paul Fields, Lisa Ganio, David Gagnon, Suzanne Hendrix, Roger Hoerl, Ghada Khoury, David Rumpf, Greg Snow, and Heidi Weiss. Judy O'Fallon and Carolyn Morgan recruited the ASA mentors for the project and will be overseeing the "practicum experience". Even though the projects that the teachers will be engaged in will generally involve statistical methods and skills that are beyond what is taught in high school statistics courses, our hope is that by experiencing the work of statistician, teachers will develop a more complete picture of the discipline and, as a consequence, become better teachers of statistics. Next year we will hopefully be able to report on the success of this endeavor!

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