TME(2020) Vol 1, No. 1, pp 43-57

Types of Understanding of Statistics Demonstrated by Postsecondary Students

Collette LEMIEUX, and Olive CHAPMAN

Mount Royal University

University of Calgary

Published in The Mathematician Educator, 2020, Vol 1, No. 1, pp 43-57.


Studies in statistics education tend to highlight students’ misconceptions and difficulties in learning statistics. But, from a constructivist perspective of learning, it is important to attend to what students know or can do. In this paper, we attend to this student-oriented perspective of learning through a study that investigated postsecondary students’ learning of statistics. The focus is on the types of understandings demonstrated by postsecondary business students in a first year statistics course with a pedagogical approach based on inquiry-oriented, story-based tasks. Data sources consisted of students written responses to the story-based tasks and followup tasks during the course. The findings indicate six ways of representing the students’ understandings of specific statistics concepts in terms of what they knew and offer a way of extending the types of understanding used to make sense of students’ learning of mathematics and statistics.

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