# Children's statistical education in different countries?

I am interested to know what level of statistics kids are learning in different countries around the world. Could you please suggest data/links that shed light on what is happening in this regards?

I'll start. Israel: The students who are taking advance math study more or less - mean, sd, histogram, normal distribution, very basic probability.

Thanks.

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Very similar in Belgium. –  Nick Sabbe May 16 '11 at 20:33
Could you indicate school grade? –  chl May 16 '11 at 20:41
chl - I'm speaking of all grades until the 12th grade (age 18) –  Tal Galili May 16 '11 at 21:19
I recently came across some data on the subject that may be of interest, nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2009001 , and here is a page with example questions for 4th and 8th graders in the US. –  Andy W May 27 '11 at 12:41
Also as a note I came across this info via a blog by AnnMaria De Mars who has a few recent posts on the US and mathematics education which may be of interest as well. –  Andy W May 27 '11 at 12:48
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Statistics eduction in the US is in flux, in no small part because we now expect even grade school students (ages 5-12) to become proficient not only with fundamental concepts of statistical thinking, but also with techniques of data summary and presentation that many of their teachers do not even know!

For an authoritative overview of efforts being made at both the K-12 and college levels, see the GAISE reports on the ASA Website. At a high level, these documents expect that all students graduating from U.S. high schools (age 18) will:

• formulate questions that can be addressed with data and collect, organize, and display relevant data to answer them;

• select and use appropriate statistical methods to analyze data;

• develop and evaluate inferences and predictions that are based on data; and

• understand and apply basic concepts of probability.

Notably, in my opinion, is an insistence that by virtue of "variability in data," there is an important "difference between statistics and mathematics." The aim is to "develop statistical thinking" in students as opposed to teaching techniques or algorithms alone.

For a college level approach, a good resource is CAUSEweb (Consortium for the Advancement of Undergraduate Statistics Education).

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Hi Whuber - wonderful references - thank you! –  Tal Galili May 17 '11 at 13:06

Good question.

In Senior Cycle (16-18 years) students study very basic statistics, mean, histograms, standard deviation. Basic probability is covered (completely seperately). Calculus, up to the level of integration by parts. Matrices (only 2*2) are an option on the Higher level paper, as is more statistics.

That being said, less than 20% of the school population take the higher course, so the other 80% do basic statistics, some differentiation and very basic probability.

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To continue talking about Ireland, we have introduced a new course for teaching mathematics to secondary school (high school) students. It is known as "Project Maths". From the Project Maths website, it says:

Project Maths is an exciting, dynamic development in Irish education. It makes maths relevant to the everyday lives of teenagers, and helps them understand it better using interesting and practical techniques. Students are empowered in developing essential problem-solving skills for higher education and the workplace.

In terms of statistics (for students taking higher level), the topics covered are:

• Collecting data
• Quantitative data
• Qualitative data
• Surveys
• Samples
• Averages
• Frequency distribution for discrete (countable) data
• Mean, mode, median for discrete or continuous grouped frequency distributions
• Variability of data
• Standard deviation of a frequency distribution
• Histograms
• Frequency Curves
• Distributions and shapes of histograms
• Stem and leaf diagrams
• Scatter plots (scatter graphs)
• Correlation and causality
• The normal curve and the standard deviation as a ruler
• Shifting data (transforming data)
• Standardizing scores
• Hypothesis testing
• Margin of error and confidence intervals for population proportions
• Sampling theory (distribution of the sample mean)
• Pitfalls and misuses of statistics

It is correctly pointed out by @richiemorrisroe that probability is treated as a separate chapter from statistics, but there is some overlap. Some of the topics in probability (again, for students taking higher level) are:

• Normal distribution and probability
• Finding areas under normal curves
• Probability distributions (including the notion of r.v. and expected value)

Some people have spoken out against Project Maths (for example, see here), but talking in terms of the sections on statistics and probability, I think it's a rather good course.

Since I have come across University lectures (both undergrad and postgrad!) that cover some of the above topics in no greater depth than the material we are presenting to our secondary school (high school) students then my reading of the situation is that we must be doing something right in this area.

In my own experience, I am not a high-school teacher, but I do help friends of family with their mathematics - particularly leaving certificate higher level. For me, it's enjoyable to teach statistics and probability to these young students and I do believe that they are learning material that is both useful and of a significantly high standard.

If you seek any further information, please visit the Project Maths website or watch this video by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment.

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