Message from the Section Chair

Joan Garfield
University of Minnesota

Newsletter for the Section on Statistical Education
Volume 9, Number 2 (Summer 2003)

Summer is here and soon many of us will gather in San Francisco for the annual Joint Statistical Meetings. This year we have a great program of invited and contributed paper sessions, as well as our popular roundtable lunches. There should be something of interest for everyone, and I look forward to attending as many of the sessions as possible. Please be sure to attend our section business meeting and social, on Wednesday night, August 6. It will be held in the Hilton, Union 1 & 2, from 5:30 to 7:00 PM. Mark your calendars now!

In addition to our statistics education sessions and meetings, I will be spending time setting up and staffing the ASA Statistics Education Booth. Please stop by the booth to check out the materials on display and to say hello. If you are willing to help staff the booth for an hour or so, let me know. We need as many volunteers as possible.

The ASA has been very generous in supporting several new and exciting education projects, which have been described in previous editions of this newsletter and in AMSTAT News (e.g., CAUSE, INSPIRE, and TEAMS). At the recent spring board meeting the ASA funded a new strategic initiative grant to support another education project, yet another acronym: GAISE (Guidelines for Assessment and Instruction in Statistics Education). This project is headed by Chris Franklin (at University of Georgia) and myself, and will develop statistics education guidelines for both K-12 curriculum and introductory college courses. There are two focus groups that will develop the guidelines, and our goal is to have them approved by ASA next spring.

I keep marveling at all the productive activity in statistics education and feel that it is a great time to be involved in this area. We now have three professional journals (Teaching Statistics, JSE, and IASE SERJ), national and international conferences (e.g., Beyond the Formula and ICOTS), and an abundance of excellent resources such as textbooks, software tools, and websites. It's almost hard to remember a time when all of these resources and opportunities were not available.

This past winter Tom Moore put together some important dates in the history of statistics education, and I found out how new and young this field actually is. I have been adding to his list of dates and find it fascinating to trace the brief history and development of this discipline. I have also been collecting historical materials and at some point will write a paper summarizing what I've learned. If anyone is interested in contributing information or materials to this endeavor, please contact me.

I will end this column by sharing with you an exciting new activity that is being used in mathematics and science education to improve teaching and learning. It is called "Japanese Lesson Study." I've been talking about this with many of my colleagues and am beginning a project next fall to implement this method in college statistics classes. Lesson Study is a process that Japanese teachers have used to systematically examine the effectiveness of their teaching for achieving desired learning goals. The process involves teachers working collaboratively to develop a small set of lessons. Working on these lessons involves planning, teaching, observing, critiquing, and revising the lessons in a continuous cycle. If you would like to learn more about lesson study, here are two excellent websites:

If you would like to learn more about my project or are interested in participating, please email me.

Have a great summer and see you in San Francisco!

Return to V9 N2 Contents
Return to Newsletter Home Page