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Eye color and the practice of statistics in Grade 6: comparing two groups

Watson, J and English, L 2018 , 'Eye color and the practice of statistics in Grade 6: comparing two groups' , Journal of Mathematical Behavior, vol. 49 , pp. 35-60 , doi:

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This study followed the progress of 85 Grade 6 students as they expanded their understanding and application of the practice of statistics to include comparing two groups of people: those with brown eyes and those with eyes of other colors. Based on a claim in the media that brown-eyed people had faster reaction times than others, the students collected data from their class to explore and evaluate the claim for their class and make an inference for all Grade 6 students. They then collected and analyzed four random samples of the same size as their class from a national “population” of Grade 6 students. Finally the data from the “population” of 1786 Grade 6 students were used to evaluate the claim. Data for analysis of student capacity to engage in the practice of statistics were collected from student workbooks completed while carrying out the activity, corroborated by transcripts of all class discussion, and from an assessment administered following the activity. Although the correlation of outcomes from the workbook and assessment was significant (p < 0.01) and many students completed the activity in a highly competent manner, the analysis also found conceptual understanding was not retained as well as procedural understanding.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Watson, J and English, L
Keywords: Statistics education, grade 6, comparing two groups
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Mathematical Behavior
Publisher: Pergamon Press
ISSN: 0732-3123
DOI / ID Number:
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2017 Elsevier Inc.

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