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Elementary School Teachers: Teaching, Understanding, and Using Statistics


"As the world becomes increasingly interested in data and data- driven decisionmaking, it is crucial for us, as educators, to consider how we can prepare a statistically literate population. Statistical literacy refers to the ability to think and reason in the presence of uncertainty. For the purpose of this article, we focus on how to ensure students in the elementary grades gain the skills necessary to become statistically literate as they mature. What statistical content should students learn in the elementary grades? What should elementary teachers know about statistics to be prepared to teach this content?

When thinking about answering questions of this type, many interweaving factors come to mind. For example, we must consider what statistical ideas students need to acquire in elementary school to embark on the pathway towards statistical literacy. We also must take into consideration the guidelines and standards, both at the state and national levels, currently in place that teachers must adhere to, as well as the types of data teachers are regularly presented with and asked to analyze for their jobs.

This article briefly considers each of these factors and offers suggestions for the type of statistical content elementary teachers should know and be prepared to teach."