Reasoning and communicating in the language of statistics

Carol S. Parke, Duquesne University


Although graduate students in education are frequently required to write papers throughout their coursework, they typically have limited experience in communicating in the language of statistics, both verbally and in written form. To succeed in their future careers, students must be provided with opportunities to develop deep understandings of concepts, develop reasoning skills, and become familiar with verbalizing and writing about statistics. The instructional approach described here spans the entire semester of a statistics course and consists of several aspects including cognitively rich individual assignments, small group activities, and a student-led scoring activity. To demonstrate the impact of this approach on student learning, qualitative and quantitative data were collected from students in two statistics courses. Several assessments indicate improvement in students' reasoning and understanding, written and verbal communication, and confidence. © Copyright © 2008 by Carol S. Parke all rights reserved.