Learning Statistics in First Year by Active Participating Students

Shelton Peiris, Tai Peseta


There has been a growing attention, especially in the last fifteen years on the teaching and learning aspects of statistics education (Chance 2000; Sowey 1998; 2001; Peiris 2002a,b). Although the knowledge, training and skills on statistics are welcomed by many employers, the majority of students still find statistics courses both challenging and unappealing. This paper reports on students’ experience of learning statistics in a first year unit of study MATH1015: Statistics for Life Sciences at The University of Sydney. Following Reid (1997) who argued that a teacher’s approach in a level environment can encourage student learning at a high level, the paper reports on the effects of small-scale curriculum change on students’ levels of motivation and engagement with statistics. Drawing on Ramsden (1992), the paper argues for an approach to teaching and learning statistics in ways that are connected to students’ experiences of the world.

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