ASA Stat. Ed. Section Newsletter - V6 N2

Newsletter of the Section on Statistical Education of the American Statistical Association

Contents of Volume 6, Number 1 (Winter 2000):
  • Message from the Section Chair
  • Editors
  • Subscription Information
  • Mark Your Calendar
  • Statistical Education Sessions at JSM 2000
  • A Web-Based Computer Studio Lab Course in Elementary Statistics
  • AP Statistics: How You Can Get Involved
  • Beyond the Formula Statistics Conference
  • Statistics Education Presentations at the International Statistics Institute (ISI) Biennial Session in Helsinki and a Preview of Future Activities
  • The First International Research Forum on Statistical Reasoning Thinking and Literacy
  • Mayo Clinic Highlights Fall Meeting for Isolated Statisticians
  • Attention K-12 School Members
  • Return to Top
    Return to Newsletter Home Page

    Message from the Section Chair

    Roxy Peck
    Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo

    Newsletter for the Section on Statistical Education
    Volume 6, Number 1 (Winter 2000)

    Please Read this and Act Now!

    As you may know, the Journal of Statistics Education became an official ASA journal this year. JSE was the first electronic journal in statistics, and it is the only all-electronic journal sponsored by the ASA. Members of the Section on Statistical Education have found JSE to be both an avenue for publishing educationally related research and teaching materials, as well as a valuable resource. JSE publishes articles, datasets, interactive teaching materials, and what are known as "Teaching Bits" -- abstracts of articles on teaching statistics and summaries of articles from the popular press that make good classroom examples.

    Prior to this year, JSE received funding from private sources and was free online to anyone who took the time to visit the website. This year, when it became an ASA journal, a MODEST subscription fee was instituted to help support the continuation of JSE. A subscription fee of $10 per calendar year (for both ASA members and non-members) gives the subscriber access to all issues from the current calendar year. At the end of the year, the current issues are moved to the archive, which is freely available.

    This next year is a critical time for JSE, as ASA evaluates its commitment to the journal. It is important that we show our support by subscribing. I was dismayed earlier this year to receive my ASA membership renewal and not see JSE among the journals that I could subscribe to easily with my renewal. And, just this week I received a nice looking ASA membership card in the mail, with a postcard that I could send back to add ASA journal subscriptions -- and again JSE isn't listed! So, don't wait for it to come to you! Please, log on to the ASA home page and show your support for JSE by subscribing for the 2000 calendar year. You'll be glad you did.

    Roxy Peck, College of Science and Mathematics, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, CA 93407; (805) 756-2971;

    Return to Top
    Return to Newsletter Home Page


    Newsletter for the Section on Statistical Education
    Volume 6, Number 1 (Winter 2000)

    Comments and suggestions for the improvement of the newsletter are most welcome, and should be sent to a member of the editorial board.

    Terry King
    Department of Mathematics & Statistics
    Northwest Missouri State University
    Maryville, Missouri 64468-6001
    (660) 562-1805
    Fax: (660) 562-1188

    Joan Garfield
    Department of Educational Psychology
    University of Minnesota
    332 Burton Hall
    128 Pillsbury Dr., S.E.
    Minneapolis MN 55455
    (612) 625-0337
    Fax: (612) 624-8241

    Tom Moore
    Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
    Grinnell College
    Grinnell IA 50112
    (515) 269-4206
    Fax: (515) 269-4984

    Return to Top
    Return to Newsletter Home Page


    Newsletter for the Section on Statistical Education
    Volume 6, Number 1 (Winter 2000)

    Hard copy
    All members of the Section on Statistical Education are automatically sent a hard copy of this newsletter. Other ASA members can receive a hard copy by joining the Section on Statistical Education the next time they renew their ASA memberships (Dues are only $5.00). Non-members of ASA may receive a hard copy by sending $8.00 along with Name, Complete Mailing Address (if within the U.S.A. please include your 9-digit zip code), Telephone, Fax, and e-mail address to:
    Marie Argana
    American Statistical Association
    732 North Washington Street
    Alexandria VA 22314-1943.

    If you wish to receive the newsletter via email contact Terry King (see Editors). Please make sure to include your name and complete e-mail address in your message.

    Web Versions
    All issues of the newsletter are also available on the World Wide Web at, and can be reached through the Statistical Education Section home page as well. Three different versions are available. The first is a "frames" version which displays the contents and articles on the same screen, along with contact information. The second and third Web versions of the Newsletter are both non-frames versions. The second version accesses each article as a separate file. If a surfer chooses to print an article, only that one article will appear on paper. The third version is a continuous feed version. That is, if a surfer chooses to print, then the entire newsletter will appear on paper.

    Return to Top
    Return to Newsletter Home Page


    Newsletter for the Section on Statistical Education
    Volume 6, Number 1 (Winter 2000)

    Information about the following Joint Statistical Meetings may be obtained from the
    ASA office:
    732 North Washington Street
    Alexandria, VA 22314-1943
    Phone: (703)684-1221

    Return to Top
    Return to Newsletter Home Page

    Statistical Education Sessions at JSM 2000

    Tom Short
    Villanova University

    Newsletter for the Section on Statistical Education
    Volume 6, Number 1 (Winter 2000)

    The Section on Statistical Education will be the primary sponsor for three invited papers sessions at the Indianapolis meetings. The topics are diverse, and I'm sure that the speakers will be outstanding.

    Session 1: Distance Learning in Statistics Education
    This session fits the theme "Celebrate Diversity in Statistics" because distance education has the potential to reach students who are not able to attend traditional courses or who are not successful in a traditional classroom format. The presenters have all developed and used statistics materials in a distance context, and will share their experiences and philosophies.

    The session was organized by John Holcomb at Youngstown State University. The speakers include Paul Velleman, from Cornell University, David Lane from Rice University, and Tom Boardman, Colorado State University. Don Edwards from the University of South Carolina will be the discussant.

    Session 2: The Teaching of Statistics Across Disciplines and Departments.
    This session consists of a panel discussion by statisticians who teach in different departments and disciplines. The panel was originally based on an NSF project conducted in 1998-1999 that gathered baseline data on the current teaching of introductory statistics courses, as four members of the panel participated as consultants to this project. Participants will describe current trends and issues in teaching the introductory course in their department or discipline and will comment specifically on desired student outcomes, content that is taught, the use of technology, instructional methods, and forms of student assessment. Panelists will represent the fields of mathematics, psychology, education, and business. In addition, a statistician in a statistics department that teaches courses for these disciplines will share her perspectives on teaching statistics across the disciplines.

    Joan Garfield from the University of Minnesota has organized this panel discussion. The panelists are Jackie Dietz, North Carolina State University, Betsy Becker from Michigan State University, Dex Whittinghill, Rowan University, Jon Cryer, from the University of Iowa, and Gary McClelland from the University of Colorado.

    Session 3: Using Technology to Develop Statistical Reasoning and Thinking.
    There is a large variety of technology that can be used in the statistics classroom: graphing calculators, statistics packages, and simulation software. The speakers in this session will describe experiences in the use of technology to promote conceptual understanding and statistical reasoning. The speakers will consider the characteristics of activities that promote conceptual development and understanding. The session will also address the issue of assessment: How do we know that technology has improved student understanding and thinking?

    Organized by Bob delMas from the University of Minnesota, the speakers in this session include John T. Behrens and Gene V. Glass from Arizona State University, Jackie Miller from the Ohio State University, Carl Lee from Central Michigan University, and Geoff Cumming, Neil Thomason, and Sue Finch, representing La Trobe University and the University of Melbourne, Australia. Beth Chance, from California Polytechnic State University, will be the discussant.

    We're now in the process of soliciting abstracts for Topic Contributed sessions and Regular Contributed papers sessions, and I'm also looking for volunteers to serve as session chairs. Please contact me if you would like to get involved in making the Statistical Education Sessions at JSM 2000 a success.

    See you in Indy in August!

    Tom Short, JSM 2000 Program Chair, ASA Section on Statistical Education, Department of Mathematical Sciences, Villanova University Villanova, PA 19085-1699; (610) 519-6961,

    Return to Top
    Return to Newsletter Home Page

    A Web-Based Computer Studio Lab Course in Elementary Statistics

    William Harkness, Laura Simon, Robert Heckard, Pat Buchanan, and Mosuk Chow (Department of Statistics); Jill Lane, Dawn Zimmaro, and Lisa Lenze (Schreyer Institute for Innovation in Learning); and Marilynne Stout (Center for Academic Computing)
    Pennsylvania State University

    Newsletter for the Section on Statistical Education
    Volume 6, Number 1 (Winter 2000)

    With the support of a grant from the Pew Foundation, five statisticians (first five co-authors), two instructional designers (Lane and Stout), an assessment specialist (Zimmaro) and a project consultant (Lenze) are working as a team to design a new technology-based introductory statistics course. This course will significantly increase the role of active learning among students in a highly enrolled pre-calculus introductory course with large class sizes. Currently, it is taught in four large classes (240 students each) meeting weekly three times in lectures and twice in recitations, conducted by TA's (three TA's each handling two sections). While teaching the course currently requires four instructors and 12 TAs, the restructured course will still involve four instructors, but the number of TAs will be reduced from 12 to six, resulting in a substantial reduction in instructional costs.

    The redesigned course will feature a weekly combination of one large group meeting (LGM), two technology classroom meetings (i.e., in computer studio labs -- CSL's), and technology-based independent learning (a web-based set of course materials). The CSL's will have 30 PC's with two students at each PC to work as a unit; two of these units will be used to form a group. The combination of smaller-classes and computer-mediated data workshops will enable faculty to have more one-on-one contact with individual students. Tutorial labs (in CSL's) will be available for students who miss classes or need remedial help.

    The new setting will make it possible for faculty to more readily address the different needs and learning styles of students, and for students to be challenged according to their own skill levels. The CSL's will enable students to work in teams, which will generate more active participation. There will be frequent hands-on experience with statistical analysis and with the visualization of concepts.

    To provide motivation for students to focus on learning the concepts on the web and to assess their understanding of them, readiness assessment tests (RAT's) will be given in the LGM's individually and in groups prior to the CSL's. The RATS will consist of 10-15 items with 3 points allotted per item that can be distributed to more than one answer (to reflect uncertainty of the understanding). Immediately following these individualized tests, students will meet as a group to re-answer the same questions and receive a group score. In this way, RAT's provide an additional opportunity for learning concepts through group discussions.

    Assessment of the restructured course will be extensive. A test of statistical concepts, consisting of 24 items, has been developed to measure student understanding of statistics prior to the course, at the conclusion of the course (as part of the final exam), and at the beginning of follow-up courses for which statistics is a prerequisite. Attitudinal surveys have been similarly constructed. Both the knowledge test and attitude survey are (and will be) administered in the current (traditional) course and the restructured course.

    What was our motivation for undertaking this effort? There were a large number of considerations. We believed that: (a) by using available technology we could reduce the cost of instruction by about 30% while maintaining or increasing student learning. (b) by making the course far more learner-centered and interactive students would acquire a deeper understanding of the critical concepts and skills central to this course. (c) the present format did not address the broad range of differences in learning styles and in quantitative skills of the students enrolled in the course. Students with weak skills need more individual attention and more opportunity for group collaboration. Students with strong skills would benefit from having more opportunity to explore the material fully. (d) our current format does not encourage active participation. It is difficult for students to ask questions, to discuss the material, or to collaborate with other students. There is not enough hands-on experience with data analysis and collection.

    We are excited about our project and look forward to seeing how our efforts turn out!

    Return to Top
    Return to Newsletter Home Page

    AP Statistics: How You Can Get Involved

    Roxy Peck
    Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo

    Newsletter for the Section on Statistical Education
    Volume 6, Number 1 (Winter 2000)

    This was another tremendous growth year for AP Statistics, with the number of exams increasing from about 15,500 in 1998 to approximately 24,700 operational exams and 500 alternate exams in 1999. The exam again consisted of a multiple-choice section and a free response section. The free response section had the same structure as in previous years (5 shorter questions and a longer investigative task). The multiple-choice section was lengthened from 35 to 40 questions.

    The 1999 reading of the free response questions took place at University of Nebraska. A total of 17 leaders and 105 readers scored the exam. As in previous years, the free response questions were graded on a five point scale (0 - 4) using holistic rubrics. Table leaders revised rubrics during the three days prior to the reading, and training packets were prepared. Sufficient time was allocated during the reading to train readers and to allow them to practice on selected student responses. The table leaders felt that this method was successful and allowed for consistent and fair scoring of responses to questions for which several different approaches could be correct.

    We expect another big increase in the number of students taking the exam in 2000. The Educational Testing Service (ETS) is estimating 38,000 students will take the exam! As a result, we will be looking for new readers, especially folks that teach introductory statistics at a college or university. The reading is great fun (really!) and you get to work with an amazing group of people. ETS covers expenses, travel, and pays a stipend. If you are interested, you can apply to be a reader by going to the College Board web site ( and then selecting the link to "The AP Reading" and then to "Complete the Faculty Consultant Application".

    Return to Top
    Return to Newsletter Home Page

    Beyond the Formula Statistics Conference

    J. Laurie Snell
    Dartmouth College

    Newsletter for the Section on Statistical Education
    Volume 6, Number 1 (Winter 2000)

    A two-day statistics conference, "Beyond the Formula III", was held August 5-6, 1999 at Monroe Community College in Rochester New York. This was the third in a series of conferences started in 1997 by Bob Johnson and his colleagues at Monroe Community College. The aim of these conferences is to present new ideas relating to the four basic issues on teaching of statistics: application to real world problems, use of technology, teaching methodologies, and curriculum. Each conference concentrates on one of these four issues but includes sessions on all four. The first conference in 1997 focused on teaching methodologies with keynote speaker David Moore, the second in 1998 focused on curriculum with Jessica Utts as keynote speaker. The third, this year, which we will briefly describe, focused on technology with keynote speaker Robin Lock. More details about the Beyond the Formula conferences can be found at

    The indefatigable Robin Lock actually gave four talks: "How has technology changed the teaching of statistics?", "Where do we go from here", "Some Tasks for Evaluating Statistical Software", "WWW Resources for Teaching Statistics" and "Some Tasks for Evaluating Statistical Software". Robin teaches statistics at St. Lawrence College in Canton, New York. He is known for his beautifully organized and informative talks. You will find summaries of his WWW resources talk and other talks he has given on statistical education at his web site

    Some of the talks were in the traditional lecture format and others were for smaller groups permitting hands-on sessions with PC's having internet connections. David Mathiason from Rochester Institute of Technology gave two such sessions in which he talked about making use of a laptop in the classroom, web resources and how they can be used. Participants were able to explore sites mentioned in the talk and download interesting data sets identified in the talk.

    Representing industry, Jason Lucas from Harris Interactive in Rochester talked about some of the real world problems involved in sampling and Patty Cyr from Eastman Kodak talking about what you really need to know about your data to draw conclusions.

    As you are probably aware, publishers are beginning to introduce statistics books on the web. Gary McClelland talked about his forthcoming web book "Seeing Statistics" to be published by Duxbury Press. For more information about this book see Robert Heckard talked about the forthcoming web book "CyberStats" published by the new web publishing company CyberGnostics. This is a cooperative effort by a team of about twenty teachers of statistics including Robert Heckard. Jessica Utts is the Editor in Chief and also a contributor for this book. More information about this book is available at: Both books make heavy use of the new teaching resource: JAVA applets.

    Fred Djang, who teaches at Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford Connecticut, gave two laboratory presentation in which he told us how he uses the TI-83 calculator in the statistics classroom. His talks included a hands-on tour of the TI-83. Kunita Cooper from Minitab Inc. gave two sessions on tips and tricks on how to get the most out of using Minitab in a statistics class.

    Laurie Snell from Dartmouth College gave a laboratory session on the resources available from the Chance web site He emphasized Chance News and the Chance Videos. Participants were provided a CD-rom containing the Chance Videos to view after the session. (Time was provided after laboratory sessions for further explorations.) To receive this CD-rom free send a note to Laurie Snell at

    Roxy Peck from California Polytechnic State University, in San Luis Obispo, California talked about their approach to teaching statistics and other courses in a "studio setting", a special room designed to optimize the multimedia approach to teaching. In their introductory statistics course they use a variety of software packages, CD-ROM and video's (Against all odds, Minitab, ActivStats, An Electronic Companion to Statistics, Netscape, SAS, etc). For each topic they choose the one that is most appropriate for that topic. You can learn more about this course by going to See in particular Roxy Peck's "Grinnell talk".

    Lori Thombs from the University of South Carolina described their experience adding a laboratory to the traditional elementary statistics course. She presented examples of hands-on laboratory experiments for students who work in teams to design the experiment, carry it out and analyze the data.

    Finally, no meeting on statistical education is complete without the wisdom of George Cobb. For this meeting, George gave us an after-dinner speech in which he asked the question: Are we paying so much attention to "how" we teach -- computers, the web, activities, groups, projects -- that we are neglecting "what" we teach?

    Bob Johnson and his colleagues are already hard at work preparing "Beyond the Formula 4" which will, indeed, have curriculum as its main emphasis.

    Return to Top
    Return to Newsletter Home Page

    Statistics Education Presentations at the International Statistics Institute (ISI) Biennial Session in Helsinki and a Preview of Future Activities

    Carol Joyce Blumberg
    Winona State University

    Newsletter for the Section on Statistical Education
    Volume 6, Number 1 (Winter 2000)

    As its name indicates the ISI conference is held every two years. The session in Helsinki was the third ISI session that I have attended since 1993. It has been amazing to see the growth in the number of ISI sessions concerning statistics education over these last six years. This year, there were seven Invited Paper Meetings organized directly by the International Association for Statistical Education (IASE), which is the statistics education arm of ISI. Besides these Invited Paper Meetings there were also several other invited sessions relevant to statistics education. In addition, there were five contributed paper sessions with a focus on statistics education. The short summaries of the Invited Paper Meetings organized by IASE given below are based on summaries prepared by the Session organizers or their designee. The complete summaries are available in the 1999 IASE Review newsletter which can be found at I wish to thank Brian Phillips, President of IASE, for allowing me to use these summaries when preparing this article. Brian and the writers of the complete summaries should be considered as co-authors of this article. This article will end with a preview of IASE activities over the next few years and information on how to join IASE.

    Complete copies of the papers summarized here, plus some of the discussants' remarks and almost all of the other invited and contributed papers presented at the Biennial Session, can be found at

    IPM 58. Statistical education and significance tests controversy.
    Organizer: Carmen Batanero (Spain). The first paper in this session was Teaching Hypothesis Testing. Can it Still be Useful? by Henrik Dahl (Norway). He discussed the teaching of key concepts. He also described problems in teaching these concepts and suggested some meaningful examples that can help students to understand the basic concepts behind statistical tests. The second paper was Some Empirical Evidence on Learning Difficulties about Testing Hypotheses by Angustias Vallecillos (Spain). She presented a survey of the experimental research on this topic, as well as a summary of the results in her own comprehensive assessment of undergraduates' learning difficulties concerning statistical tests. She also pointed out some difficulties and errors that underlie the problems described and that should be taken into account to improve the teaching and learning of the topics. Students' conceptions about key concepts in statistical tests were also described. The third paper was Beyond the Significance Test Controversy: Prime Time for Bayes? by Bruno Lecoutre (France). To solve the paradoxical situation around statistical tests, he suggested that a positive agreement on the procedures that bypass the common misuses of statistical tests is needed. He proposed that the Bayesian philosophy should become an attractive challenge for the scientists, applied statisticians and statistics instructors of the 21st century.

    IPM 59. Teaching and training multivariate data-analysis.
    Organizer: Helena Bacelar Nicolau (Portugal). The first paper in this session was Introduction à la Classification en Sciences Humaines" by Georges Le Calvé (France) who described his approach to teaching an introductory course on cluster analysis for students in the social and behavioral sciences. Despite their weak background in mathematics, these students can easily go from analyzing data and learning from real examples to being able to understand what a cluster is and the abstract notion of distance. The second paper was Discussion, Debate, and Disagreement: Teaching Multiple Regression by Case Discussion by Peter G. Bryant (USA). He reported his recent experiences in teaching courses in statistics, and in particular on multiple regression, in business schools. He is using the classroom time for debate and discussion rather than lecture. The third paper was Teaching Multivariate Data Analysis in the Fields of Biology and Ecology by Hans-Peter Baeumer (Germany). He discussed the relevant role of and techniques for the teaching of multivariate data analysis in these areas. An applications-oriented approach that teaches students how to efficiently collect experimental data as well as how to reliably analyze multivariate data obtained in laboratory and field experiments was described. The last paper was Some Remarks in Teaching the Correlation Coefficient by Kameo Matusita (Japan). He discussed several suitable counter-examples and how these lead to some important matters that need to be attended to when teaching correlation. Important mistakes that can arise when interpreting correlation coefficients, graphical representations, and a simulated comparative study between the affinity coefficient and the correlation coefficient were also discussed.

    IPM 60. Statistical education using flexible learning approaches.
    Organizer: Agostino Di Ciaccio (Italy). The first paper was Teaching Statistics with Internet: A Survey of Available Resources and the St@tNet Project by Gilbert Saporta (France). Although an oral presentation was not given a complete written paper is still available at the proceedings web address given above. The second paper was Why do Students Find Statistics so Difficult? by James B. Ramsay (USA). He maintained that a major problem in learning statistics is that statistics and probability theory are essentially acausal. Students find it more difficult to understand statistics than other disciplines that are inherently casual. Implications for the teaching of statistics together with practical suggestions for their implementation were also discussed. The third paper was Multimedia Statistical Labs & Toolkit (TILE ) by Deborah Nolan and Duncan Temple Lang (USA). The TILE project consists of two parts: statistics labs that are designed to teach students how to think critically (and statistically) about quantitative problems that are real and important to them; a toolkit, which provides a flexible and extendible environment where instructors can develop portable teaching applications. Exercises, simulations, problem solving and even animated adventures and puzzles are used to involve the students.

    IPM 61. Statistical education for life.
    Organizer: Brian Phillips (Australia). The first paper Justice by the Numbers: Educating Judicial Decision Makers by Mary Gray and Nawar Al-Shara (USA) was presented by Hasan Hamdan. In the paper they showed how the testimony of statistical experts has become increasingly important in many legal situations and that judges often have great discretion in deciding what evidence can be admitted and ultimately in the validity and weight given to such evidence. They concluded that although there is no specific code of ethics binding statisticians, general principles of good teaching would preclude the complex and muddled presentations that too often appear. It is the role of the statistical expert to convince the finders-of-fact that the evidence can be relied upon. The second paper was Official Statistics and the Outside World by Vincenzo Lo Moro (Italy). He discussed the issue of the increasing demand for official statistics from National Statistical Institutes and the satisfaction of the users in the workplace with the information and services they receive. The paper aimed at suggesting an evolutionary model for the statistical education that is required by the increased consumption of official statistics. Strategies to reduce the disappointment of users of statistics were also discussed. The third paper was Childhood Leukemia -- Communicating with a Worried Public by Amanda Burls (UK). This paper describes a case-history of a successful attempt by a local health authority in the United Kingdom to deal with high levels of public anxiety about a cluster of childhood leukemia in Northampton by a risk communication strategy. This involved working with the community and media and producing a written report for parents and later working with the BBC to produce a program on disease clusters.

    IPM 62. Issues involved in the assessment and evaluation of student learning of statistics.
    Organizer: Joan Garfield (USA) Reported by: Joe Wisenbaker (USA). The first paper was How to Assess Large Groups with the Minimal Amount of Resources but Preserving Quality by Susan Starkings (UK). The advantages and disadvantages of three different approaches to assessing student learning in the context of large classes: multiple-choice exams, group work and in-class presentations were viewed from the perspectives of diagnostic, formative and summative assessment. Attention was devoted to the level of effort and preparation required on the part of the instructor, the depth of knowledge that can be ascertained, and difficulties posed for the student. The second paper was A Model of Classroom Assessment in Action: Using Assessments to Improve Student Learning and Statistical Reasoning by Beth Chance, Joan Garfield and Robert delMas (USA). It provided an in-depth examination of an on-going study of the effectiveness of a computer simulation activity focused on constructing and visualizing the concept of sampling distributions. The perspective on assessment that guided their work was directed toward the long-term improvement of their computer program and a search for critical features that might serve to enhance students' understanding as assessed through graphics-based test items. The third paper was Assessment in Statistics Using the Personal Computer by Giuseppe Cicchitelli, Francesco Bartolucci & Antonio Forcina (Italy). The system described in this paper was developed in an effort to supplement an existing assessment approach relying exclusively on oral examinations. The testing model employed is a large item bank with individual items calibrated with respect to item discrimination and difficulty and permits the selection of more probing questions in context.

    IPM 63. Visualization as an educational tool.
    Organizer: Larry Weldon (Canada). The first paper was Graphical Excellence -- The Importance of Sound Principles and Practices for Effective Communication by Thomas Bradstreet (USA). He emphasized that statistics education needs to stress graphical communication more seriously than in the past, since graphics are no longer merely a frill to supplement numerical results but rather a basic form of quantitative communication. The second paper was Emphasizing Visualization and Activities in Teaching Introductory Statistics by Interactive Multimedia by Hans-Joachim Mittag (Germany). The paper discussed his multi-media statistical education computer package and the pedagogical principles underlying it. He showed how to combine sound, real data sets, pictures and graphics with optional text buttons to provide students with diverse preparation information at the appropriate level. The third paper was Visualization for Teaching All Steps of Data-Based Scientific Research by Clovis Peres (Brazil). He proposed that an additional emphasis on the scientific method, with its circular pattern of objective ---> data ---> conclusion ---> reconsideration of objective, would help students to bridge the gap between their technical learning and the needs of the scientific world.

    IPM 42. Statistical training of people working in and with official statistics.
    Organizers: Carol Joyce Blumberg (USA) and René H. M. Smulders (The Netherlands. The first paper was The Dissemination of Statistical Literacy Among Citizens and Public Administration Directors by Luigi Biggeri and Alberto Zuliani (Italy). They examined the statistical literacy needs of various users and recipients including policy makers in both the public and private sectors, as well as among the mass media and teachers at the primary and secondary levels. The paper also contained a description of literacy activities that have occurred in Italy including a national conference in 1997, a "Census of Children" to be carried out in 1999 to 2001, seminars for journalists and various public administrators, and the preparation of materials for the public in print, on television, and on the Internet. Further, an introduction to the World Numeracy Programme was given. The second paper was Impact of the Internet on Official Statistics: New Opportunities and Dilemmas for Training by Lea Bregar and Irena Ograjensek (Slovenia). They discussed the Course on European Economic Statistics (CEES) which they have developed in co-operation with TES (Training of European Statisticians) Institute and colleagues at the University of Ljubljana and in Sofia, Bulgaria. This on-line course uses the Internet and hyper-media to help increase the quality and efficiency of users' access to information, flexibility for exploring and using official statistics, and integration of learning experiences and knowledge. The third paper was New and Emerging Demands for Statistical Training in Response to User Needs: Meeting the Human Resource Challenge in the Caribbean by Linda Hewitt (Trinidad). The paper begins with an explanation of how market globalization and the increased use of computers and other technologies have made it vital for the Caribbean (and other developing regions) to produce useful economic, demographic, and social statistics. Yet, at the University level statistics is still not regarded as a priority area and given a status similar to that of Economics, Engineering, the Natural and Medical Sciences or even the Humanities. The paper discussed why this has occurred and talked about some possible first steps for improving the situation.


    July 31-August 6, 2000 -- International Congress on Mathematics Education -- Makuhari, Japan. IASE has been involved in the planning of several sessions for ICME-9. Further information on these sessions can be found at Further information on ICME-9 can be found at:

    August 7-11, 2000 -- Round Table Conference: Training Researchers in the Use of Statistics -- Tokyo, Japan. This is a conference that can be attended by invitation only. All invitations have already been extended. There will be 25 papers presented. The proceedings of the conference will be made available to the public. Further information is available at

    August 22-29, 2001 -- ISI 53 Biennial Session -- Seoul, Korea. IASE will be involved in the organization of 11 Invited Paper Meetings at the ISI Session in Seoul, Korea: 1) Forum: IASE and Statistics Education in Developing Countries 2) Undergraduate Level Statistics Programmes 3) The Future of Statistics Education Research 4) Research on Teaching Statistics at School and University Levels 5) Undergraduate Statistics Education in Non-Statistics Degree Programmes 6) Continuing Statistics Education in the Workplace 7) Postgraduate Training of Statisticians 8) Women's Contributions to Leadership in Statistical Education 9) Technology in Statistics Education 10) The Role of Official Statistics in the University Curriculum and 11) Education and the Internet: Effective Structures . Further information on these IASE sessions (including the organizers) can be found at

    Further information on the ISI Biennial Session can be found at

    July 6-12, 2002 -- International Conference on Teaching Statistics -- Durban, South Africa. This is the major international conference in Statistics Education that is held every 4 years. Planning for ICOTS-6 is well under way. Details can be found at the ICOTS-6 web site at

    As you can see from all of the activities listed above, IASE is very active, despite the fact that it is only 7 years old. It is the only global organization whose main focus is Statistics Education. If you are not already a member of IASE, I would strongly urge you to consider joining IASE. At the present exchange rates, dues are only US $24.00. As part of your membership in IASE you will become a member of an international community of statistics educators. This will entitle you to receive the IASE Review newsletter (devoted exclusively to Statistics Education) and the ISI Newsletter which deals with all areas of Statistics at the international level. Furthermore, you can receive the International Statistical Review journal and Short Book Reviews newsletter as well as registration for conferences organized by the IASE at reduced rates. I have found all of these very helpful in my teaching of statistics courses. For further information about the IASE and for a copy of the IASE Membership form go to the IASE web site at This site also has many links useful to anyone involved in statistics education.

    If you cannot find any of the information at the web sites I have given in this article or if you have any other questions about IASE activities, please feel free to contact either Brian Phillips (President of IASE) at School of Mathematical Sciences, Swinburne University of Technology, PO Box 218, Hawthorn 3122, AUSTRALIA, Fax: (61) 3-9819-0821, email: or me at Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Winona State University, Winona MN 55987-5838, Phone: (507) 457-5589, Fax: (507) 457-5376, email:

    Return to Top
    Return to Newsletter Home Page

    The First International Research Forum on Statistical Reasoning Thinking and Literacy

    Kibbutz Be'eri, Israel, July 18-23, 1999
    Dani Ben-Zvi

    Newsletter for the Section on Statistical Education
    Volume 6, Number 1 (Winter 2000)

    The First International Research Forum on Statistical Reasoning, Thinking and Literacy, was held in Kibbutz Be'eri), located in the beautiful northwest Negev hills, near the Gaza Strip, a one hour drive from Tel-Aviv, in Israel.

    This gathering took place under the umbrellas of the International Study Group for Research on Learning Probability and Statistics and the International Association for Statistics Education. It was sponsored by the University of Minnesota, the Maurice and Gabriela Goldschleger Conference Foundation at the Weizmann Institute of Science, and Kibbutz Be'eri. The Forum was co-chaired by Joan Garfield (University of Minnesota, USA) and Dani Ben-Zvi (Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel), who are currently Vice-Presidents of the IASE.

    The SRTL Forum offered an opportunity for a small, interdisciplinary group of researchers from six different countries (Australia, Belgium, Northern Ireland, Israel, UK, and US) to meet for five days, to share their work, discuss important issues, and initiate collaborative projects.

    Sessions were held in an informal style with a high level of interaction. We experimented in using videos of classroom work or interviews with students, as a way to present, discuss and argue parts of the research work, we are immersed in. We learned that videos are an important tool to use both in research on statistics teaching and learning and in sharing our work.

    Our forum was very successful and is planned to lead to an edited book on Statistical Reasoning, Thinking and Literacy. The book will summarize the work presented, discussions conducted on theoretical, methodological, pedagogical, assessment, literacy and communication emerging issues.

    This was only the beginning of a very exciting and promising line of research. There is much work to be done. We hope to offer new or expanded networks, an e-mail discussion list, and a second Research Forum (SRTL-2) in the year 2001 in Australia.

    If you would like to learn more about our research forum, or learn how to become involved in SRTL-2, please visit the SRTL website ( or contact Joan Garfield ( or Dani Ben-Zvi (

    Return to Top
    Return to Newsletter Home Page

    Mayo Clinic Highlights Fall Meeting for Isolated Statisticians

    Gwen Applebaugh

    Newsletter for the Section on Statistical Education
    Volume 6, Number 1 (Winter 2000)

    On October 1, 1999 the Isolated Statisticians enjoyed an excellent tour of various departments related to record keeping at the Mayo Clinic of Rochester, Minnesota. It was explained that detailed medical records are kept on every patient. Data from these records may be used in medical studies. Maintaining and keeping all the records up to data are major components to this major medical research facility. On Saturday October 2, other colleagues joined the group to hear a presentation from Dr. Michael O'Fallon of the Mayo Clinic. He explained the details of a medical research project he had been involved with, including media reactions, legal implications, and statistical issues.

    Tentative plans are being made to meet again in the Fall 2000, perhaps in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

    Return to Top
    Return to Newsletter Home Page

    Attention K-12 School Members

    Newsletter for the Section on Statistical Education
    Volume 6, Number 1 (Winter 2000)

    The executive committee of the Section on Statistical Education decided to continue for another year to send the issues of the Section newsletter free to School Members of ASA. It is our hope that you find the information in this newsletter interesting.

    Return to Top
    Return to Newsletter Home Page