POST-SECONDARY STUDENTS’ LEARNING OF DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS THROUGH STORY-BASED TASKS

Collette Lemieux, Olive Chapman

Abstract


This paper reports on one aspect of a larger project that investigated the use of inquiry-oriented, story-based tasks in teaching statistics. Specifically, its focus is on identifying levels of understanding of descriptive statistics concepts that students in a first-year university business statistics course were able to develop through their engagement in a story-based task. Understanding was framed by Skemp’s (1976) theoretical perspectives of instrumental and relational understanding. Data sources consisted of students’ written responses to the story-based task during the course. Findings indicated that most of the students were able to develop instrumental understanding and a partial level of relational understanding of the concepts. In general, findings suggest that learning statistics through stories has the potential to have a positive impact on students’ understanding of concepts in areas that previous research suggests is difficult for students to learn.

Keywords


Descriptive statistics, Understanding, Story-based tasks, Post-secondary students

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