Teaching and assessment of statistical thinking within and across disciplines

2006 ALTC Senior Teaching Fellowship

Keywords: ,

Professor Helen MacGillivray

Fellowship years: 2006 - 2009

Abstract: This Fellowship aimed to identify and tackle the challenges of learning and teaching in statistical thinking. It examined where statistical education is at and where it should develop. Dissemination of the Fellow’s work enabled feedback and collaboration to influence and inspire further developments. Information from observation, and analysing the commonalities and contrasts across learning and teaching contexts has also greatly contributed to findings and ongoing work. The program has already made significant contributions to building networks and understanding to bridge the many divisions in the worlds of statistics and statistics education, and it is intended to pursue this further during Professor MacGillivray’s term as president of the International Association for Statistical Education, 2009-2011. Dissemination took place at 16 universities in six different countries and involved discussion with 21 collaborators. These activities of discovery, dissemination, collaboration, observation and interaction have provided an extensive and rich source to inform reflection, analysis and synthesis feeding into the Fellow’s teaching, support of staff and students, writings and development of resources. A highlight of the fellowship program was the 6th Australian Conference on Teaching Statistics (OZCOTS) in July 2008, in Melbourne, held for the first time as a satellite conference to the Australian Statistical Conference. A forum entitled “Building Networks in Statistical Education” was held for statisticians and statistical educators from Australia and New Zealand at QUT in February 2009. Preparation of datasets and materials from student free-choice data investigation projects was undertaken for the development of a website of authentic and rich datasets, with notes and teaching comments. Extending and maintaining this website is an ongoing commitment. A second website on teaching tips is in development. Reflection before and during the Fellowship led to revision of teaching materials and resources for introductory statistical data analysis and introductory modelling with probability and distributions, incorporating innovative approaches designed to facilitate learning and assessment of statistical thinking for today’s student cohorts in a modern information society. A DVD, four invited papers and two invited book chapters have been finalised. Another 10 papers are in preparation, or have been scoped, each with a different collaborator.

Fellowship discipline: Mathematical sciences, Statistics


Data science, statistical investigations, team sport and assessment

MacGillivray, H.


Education for a workplace statistician

Gibbons, K. and MacGillivray, H.


Statistics learning for the next decade

MacGillivray, H.