News › 2018

Robyn Headifen and Marion Steele’s HOD day workshop examined the characteristics of good Statistics teachers.

They both recommended  SET Statistical Education of Teachers as professional reading. This is available via the US website:

Ideal professional reading for a department with new or developing Stats teachers.

There were many other resources for Statistics shared by presenters on the AMA HOD/F/UH day.


Literacy for University Entrance: Views from NZSA Education Committee

Literacy and Statistics

The Education Committee of the New Zealand Statistical Association (NZSA) is very pleased to
see that the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) is consulting on the University
Entrance (UE) Literacy List. This statement is offered as input into NZQA’s review (via, and is being made available on CensusAtSchool. We are part of a
‘subject association’ (as in the consultation document) with a strong ‘interest in the list’.
NZQA’s consultation document is at

We see it as extremely important that achievement standards from areas like and including
Statistics remain in and are added to the list. Statistics at present has two standards in the list,
with no proposed removals or additions. They are: 91266, 2.11, int (Reading only); and 91584,
3.12, ext (Reading and Writing both);. Other Statistics internal standards require a written report
and evaluation of evidence, usually in writing. We would like to see some more of the L2 and L3
Statistics standards count towards UE literacy.

Tension between text and other methods of communication
We see a tension between the need for written work and the need to allow students
opportunities to present their best evidence against a standard in a variety of ways.
We think it is completely fair that NZQA requires UE literacy writing evidence to come from work
that is written. It makes sense, at present, to exclude standards where this cannot be
guaranteed. However, If a large number of standards were required to be assessed entirely in writing, the
results could include student overwork and boredom, teacher overwork, and student flight.
We would like to see more flexibility in how students gain literacy, and a change to the difficulty
that many schools and students face at present. We see the need for a dialogue to find
solutions to this tension.

One such solution would be to require the submitted work to include a written abstract or
summary, for nominated standards. This is an important part of science communication across
many subjects, and would fit well with other methods of presentation.
Another solution would be to make some standards restricted to written reports, so they could
count towards UE literacy, and to keep others with open assessment.
We are aware of a strong teacher view that, under the present system, many students have
difficulty meeting the UE literacy requirements. As Statistics is the second largest subject at
NCEA Level 3, increased opportunities for UE literacy within our communication-focused subject
would be beneficial for many students.

Ongoing dialogue
In the light of:
● student difficulties in meeting UE literacy requirements,
● the large amount of UE literacy-relevant work often done at present for the statistics
standards, especially the internals,
● and the large number of students who attempt NCEA Level 3 Statistics Achievement Standards,

we would like to see a solution where more statistical standards count for UE literacy.
We are happy to expand on our ideas and possible solutions with NZQA, if and when that is
useful. ‘

To contact the Education Committee, please email the Committee’s Convenor:

2018 Ihaka Lecture series

Tonight is the last in this years Ihaka Lecture series. If you missed any you can watch them at: Link:

Speaker:     Alberto Cairo
Affiliation: University of Miami
Title:       Visual trumpery: How charts lie
Date:        Wednesday, 21 March 2018
Time:        6:30 pm to 7:30 pm
Location:    6.30pm, Large Chemistry Lecture Theatre, Ground Floor, Building 301, 23 Symonds Street, City Campus, Auckland Central.

In our final 2018 Ihaka lecture, Alberto Cairo (Knight Chair in Visual
Journalism at the University of Miami) will deliver the following:
Visual trumpery: How charts lie — and how they make us smarter

Please join us for refreshments from 6pm in the foyer area outside the
lecture theatre.

With facts and truth increasingly under assault, many interest groups have
enlisted charts — graphs, maps, diagrams, etc. — to support all manner of
spin. Because digital images are inherently shareable and can quickly
amplify messages, sifting through the visual information and misinformation
is an important skill for any citizen.

The use of graphs, charts, maps and infographics to explore data and
communicate science to the public has become more and more popular.
However, this rise in popularity has not been accompanied by an increasing
awareness of the rules that should guide the design of these
visualisations. This talk teaches normal citizens principles to become a more critical and
better informed readers of charts.

Alberto Cairo is the Knight Chair in Visual Journalism at the University of
Miami. He’s also the director of the visualisation programme at UM’s Center
for Computational Science. Cairo has been a director of infographics and
multimedia at news publications in Spain (El Mundo, 2000-2005) and Brazil
(Editora Globo, 2010-2012,) and a professor at the University of North
Carolina-Chapel Hill. Besides teaching at UM, he works as a freelancer and
consultant for companies such as Google and Microsoft. He’s the author of
the books The Functional Art: An Introduction to Information Graphics and
Visualization (2012) and The Truthful Art: Data, Charts, and Maps for
Communication (2016).

Map: ]

Relevant topics for public consultation in statistics education

The Ministry of Education is leading a review of the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA). The Education committee for NZSA has prepared a statement into topics affecting the review. Please read  Topics for NCEA Review from NZSA Education Committee.

The Committee’s statement says: “This document is offered as input into the Ministry’s review. The education committees views are based on our readings of recent assessments, on concerns heard from teachers, and on our collective experience in statistics education. One of our goals is to provide expert guidance in statistics education, where we can.”

Finally, submissions for a review of the UE literacy standards are due by the 13th of April, so if you want to have your say on these complete a survey.