Second International Research Forum on Statistical Reasoning, Thinking and Literacy

15 - 20 August, 2001
University of New England, Armidale, Australia
Reported by Chris Reading

Newsletter for the Section on Statistical Education
Volume 8, Number 1 (Winter 2002)

The second in a series of International Research Forums was held in Australia in August 2001. The committee thanks the sponsors; the IASE Statistical Education Research Group (IASE SERG); the Centre for Cognition Research in Learning and Teaching (University of New England); the School of Curriculum Studies (UNE); the University of Minnesota; and the Faculty of Education, Health and Professional Studies (UNE) for their much appreciated support of the research forum.

The forum focused on the reasoning aspects of students' statistical learning. Researchers attending the forum came from Australia, Germany, Israel, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the USA. The fourteen presentations were arranged into four groups, which addressed reasoning about (i) data and distributions, (ii) variability and sampling, (iii) comparing distributions, and (iv) sampling distributions.

For the first three days each group met and discussed research presented by the members of that group. Researchers were allocated a couple of hours in which to present their data, usually in the form of video excerpts, for the other researchers within the group to discuss. Each workshop session was followed by a discussant-led wrap up which allowed the group to address wider questions related to the presentation. Participants lamented the fact that they could not attend every presentation, but time would not permit such an arrangement. Each of the four groups then presented a summarized version of their deliberations for all participants. These group presentations were well received and generated further discussions, although perhaps producing more questions than were answered. Most groups recognized overlapping themes between the presentations involving both the methodology and the results of the research presented. Final discussions centred around implications of the presentations for future research in statistics education. Recommendations involved a wide range of issues including curriculum and assessment, professional development, technology and research methods.

Participants also enjoyed a varied social program which allowed them to sample some of the delights of the New England area of New South Wales and the warm hospitality of New England residents. Everyone agreed that the format of the Research Forum, with the small group workshops, was very rewarding and strong support should be sought to continue the series. Session and group summaries will be available before 2002 and a book is planned which will include work arising out of the research forum. Plans are already underway to finalize the venue for SRTL-3 to be held in August 2003. All interested researchers should visit the SRTL-2 Website ( to keep in touch with developments.

SRTL-2 Co-Chairs: Dani Ben-Zvi (dbenzvi@, Joan Garfield (, Chris Reading (, Bob delMas (

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