IASE Report

Allan Rossman, President

Newsletter for the Section on Statistical Education
Volume 13, Number 2 (Fall 2008)

The International Association for Statistical Education (IASE) is planning for a Satellite conference to be held in Durban, South Africa in August 2009, on the theme of "Next Steps in Statistics Education."  Patrick Murphy (patrick.murphy@ucd.ie) is chairing this conference.  All submissions addressing this broad theme will be welcome; the deadline for submission is November 30, 2008. This theme has been chosen to particularly attract papers under the following headings: 

  1. What constitutes best practice for the curriculum beyond the "Introductory Statistics" course? What courses should follow on for those wishing to major in Statistics and what additional training should we offer to those in other disciplines?
  2. What elements of our undergraduate curriculum specifically prepare our students for their careers post-graduation, either in the workplace or as masters/doctoral students? How can we improve these elements? 
  3. Now that more countries have school curricula that include substantial emphasis on data and chance, how can we better prepare teachers for implementing those curricula?  What curricular materials and tools can we develop to improve students' learning of statistics at school level? 
  4. Since the 1949 formation of its precursor, the ISI Statistical Education Committee, the IASE has matured as an organisation. As we move towards ICOTS 8, we note that great progress has already been made in the field of Statistics Education but the challenge we face now is to consider the next steps that we must take. How can we build on past progress to raise the profile of our field so that it becomes a more visible and vibrant pursuit?

Planning is also continuing very well for the Eighth International Conference on Teaching Statistics (ICOTS), to be held in July 2010 in Slovenia.  John Harraway (jharraway@maths.otago.ac.nz) is the conference chair.  Among the plenary speakers is Hans Rosling, well known for his TED lectures and gapminder software.  More information about the conference, along with beautiful photos of Ljubljana, are available at: http://icots8.org/.

IASE continues to publish Statistics Education Research Journal (SERJ), a peer-reviewed journal available free on the section's website.  SERJ will be publishing a special issue this fall on the topic of informal statistical inferential reasoning.  All of the Proceedings of IASE conferences are also freely available at this website.

The International Statistical Literacy Project (ISLP), under the direction of Juana Sanchez, has been conducted competitions among school children.  One such competition culminated in Lisbon last August, and another competition is underway that will conclude in Durban next August.

This summer IASE held a Roundtable Conference in Monterrey, Mexico on the theme of preparing teachers to teach statistics in school mathematics.  This was a joint venture with ICMI (International Commission on Mathematical Instruction).   About 80 participants from 25 countries participated in this conference.  It was especially gratifying that a large number of representatives from developing countries (including Uganda, Botswana, China, Philippines, Iran, Honduras, Panama and Costa Rica) attended, with some financial assistance from IASE.  It was also encouraging that a large number of graduate students and recent graduate students participated and had very fruitful interactions with more experienced colleagues.

Also this summer IASE helped to sponsor a workshop in Los Angeles about the Census-at-School project.  This workshop brought together university faculty and government agency officials from countries including Japan, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, United Kingdom, and United States. The workshop focused on how to advance and expand the Census-at-School project, which gives school children access to real data about themselves and their peers around the world.

The IASE sponsored a session at the Joint Statistical Meetings in August, involving discussion of how statistics is taught in schools in various countries.

Please visit the IASE website (http://www.stat.auckland.ac.nz/~iase/) to learn more about the organization, and consider joining if you are not a member.

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