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Statistical variation in a chance setting: a two-year study


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Watson, JM and Kelly, BA 2004 , 'Statistical variation in a chance setting: a two-year study' , Educational Studies in Mathematics, vol. 57, no. 1 , pp. 121-144 , doi: 10.1023/B:EDUC.0000047053.96987.5f.

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A series of 13 survey questions based on a 50-50 spinner is used to explore
school students’ understanding of statistical variation in a chance setting. Five questions
set the context by assessing the understanding of theoretical expectation and representation
of repeated trials in a stacked dot (line) plot. Four questions provide opportunity to display
appreciation of variation from point expectation and four questions address variation from
distributional expectation. Three hundred and seventy-five students in Grades 3–9 answered
some or all of these questions. These students then took part in a unit of study on chance and
data emphasizing variation. Of these students, 334 answered a post-test including the same
items and a further subset of 199 students completed a longitudinal survey of the same items
two years later. Analysis of the initial data showed a progression of understanding across
the years of schooling, plateauing at Grade 7, improvement for all grades after instruction,
and generally sustained and continuing improved performance after two years. Educational
issues are considered.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Watson, JM and Kelly, BA
Keywords: chance, distribution, instruction, longitudinal data, point estimate, probability, spinners, variation
Journal or Publication Title: Educational Studies in Mathematics
ISSN: 0013-1954
DOI / ID Number: 10.1023/B:EDUC.0000047053.96987.5f
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