Teacher journal archive (2008-2011)

Article Title

Damn good statistics


If teachers are looking for a student-centred approach to learning, but cannot find raw data that engages students they can try using the latest internationally focused Census at School online survey. The next Census at School survey from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is taking this data-rich resource to a new level with the introduction of several exciting initiatives in 2008. The 2008 version builds on the capacity of Census at School to provide students with the opportunity to use real, raw data in their analyses, and on the engagement enabled by the fact that the data relate to them. Students complete an online questionnaire about themselves to build an Australian-wide database from which random samples of real data can be generated. The student-centred approach to learning means students are able to pose their own questions about what interests them, utilizing the Census at School database as the source of their investigations. Essentially students turn data into information that makes sense, allowing them to build a picture of the world around them. Students effectively simulate the statistical collection process by placing themselves in the role of statistician; but the real benefits of the project lie in the multitude of cross- curricula analysis opportunities available for students, ranging from Years 5 to 12. Census at School allows students to model the census process, which is an important aspect of statistical literacy, to understand the problems of data collection, before they analyse the data. To participate, schools need to complete a registration form. Teachers can then create an online account and access numbers for students to complete the online questionnaire. The 2008 data will be available in July. [Author abstract, ed]

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