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New Zealand schoolchildren will share their thoughts on bullying in a nationwide survey that launches this week.

CensusAtSchool/TataraungaKiTeKura is a long-running, online educational project that brings statistics to life in the classroom. Supervised by teachers, students aged between 9 and 18 (Year 5 to Year 13) answer 35 questions in English or te reo Māori about their lives, then analyse the results in class.

Already, more than 1618 teachers from 808 schools all over New Zealand have registered for CensusAtSchool, which runs from March 16 to May 29. (Click here to see which of your local schools are taking part).

For the first time, children will be asked for their opinions on bullying. CensusAtSchool co-director Rachel Cunliffe says the questions were developed in response to calls for greater discussion of the issue, which has been identified as a major problem in New Zealand.

“Bullying of any type – whether its verbal bullying or cyber-bullying – can have a huge and negative impact on children’s learning,” she says. “And as statistics is about recording what happens in real life, we have an opportunity to hear what children really think about the problem and, hopefully, encourage greater discussion of bullying.”

The bullying questions are as follows: Is bullying among students a problem at your school? When did you first personally experience or become aware of bullying behaviour? Who do you think are cyberbullies? How old do you think cyberbullies are?

Other questions in the survey this year ask students to undertake practical activities such as weighing their schoolbag, and paint a picture of their lifestyle through questions such as: Where did you eat your dinner last night? About how many txt messages did you send yesterday?

CensusAtSchool, now in its seventh edition, is a collaborative project involving teachers and the University of Auckland’s Department of Statistics, with support from StatisticsNZ and the Ministry of Education. It is part of an international effort to boost statistical capability among young people, and is carried out in Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, the US, Japan and South Africa. The countries share some questions so comparisons can be made, but the majority reflect New Zealand students’ interests.

Notes to media
Contact
CensusAtSchool co-director Rachel Cunliffe at census@stat.auckland.ac.nz or phone 027 3833 746. For more information on CensusAtSchool New Zealand 2015, visit http://www.censusatschool.org.nz. To find out which of your local schools are participating, click here.  To see the questions, click here.

About CensusAtSchool co-director Rachel Cunliffe
Rachel holds a BSc (Hons) in Statistics from the University of Auckland and co-directs CAS with Professor Chris Wild of the Department of Statistics at The University of Auckland. Rachel owns web company cre8d design and speaks about online communications and youth culture. To download a free high-resolution picture of Rachel, click here.

Three-quarters of students aged 6 to 12 say they did homework the night before they completed a nationwide survey – and on average, that extra work took 53 minutes. A total of 69% of teenage students say they did homework, and that on average, they spent 1 hour 13 minutes doing it.

This insight has emerged from the educational project CensusAtSchool, which so far has involved more than 19,000 students from 600 schools answering questions about their lives. For the first time this year, CensusAtSchool asked students whether they had done homework the night before filling in the online survey, and how long they spent on it.

“The numbers are just a snapshot, but they are food for thought in the lively debate around homework,” says CensusAtSchool co-director Rachel Cunliffe. “It seems that everyone has an opinion on how much homework children should do – and more recently, we’ve seen some education experts suggesting that children are, perhaps, better off playing after school rather than studying.”

The survey also found that 74% of teen girls said they did homework the night before – but just 61% of teen boys. Some students said they did two or more hours of homework – 7% of all 6 to 12-year-olds and 15% of all 13 to 18-year-olds.

WHO’S DOING HOMEWORK?

Students who did homework the night before CensusAtSchool:
All, aged 6-12: 77%
All, aged 13-18: 69%

Average time on homework the night before CensusAtSchool:
All, aged 6-12: 53 mins
All aged 13-18: 1 hour 13 mins

Boys aged 6 to 12: 53 mins
Girls aged 6 to 12: 54 mins

Boys aged 13 to 18: 1 hour 5 mins
Girls aged 13 to 18: 1 hour 17 mins

Source: CensusAtSchool

Students were also asked to name their favourite singers or bands. Anyone with a daughter will not be at all surprised to hear that the girls’ favourite group is English-Irish boy band One Direction, formed out of the 2010 series of singing competition The X Factor in the United Kingdom. Next on the list is Taylor Swift, followed by Ed Sheeran, Justin Bieber and Beyonce. For boys, the top of the list is American singer-songwriter Bruno Mars, followed by Eminem, Macklemore, Imagine Dragons, and Coldplay.

CensusAtSchool is a biennial online project that brings statistics to life in the classroom. Supervised by teachers, students aged between 10 and 18 (Year 5 to Year 13) answer 32 questions about their lives, many of them involving practical activities such as weighing and measuring, then become ‘data detectives’ as they analyse the results in class. This year, more than 1408 teachers have run CAS in their classrooms.

CensusAtSchool, now in its sixth edition, is a collaborative project involving teachers, the University of Auckland’s Department of Statistics, Statistics New Zealand and the Ministry of Education. It is part of an international effort to boost statistical capability among young people, and is carried out in Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, the US, Japan and South Africa. The countries share some questions so comparisons can be made, but the majority reflect New Zealand students’ interests.

CensusAtSchool co-director Professor Chris Wild, of the Department of Statistics at the University of Auckland, adds, “The survey produces data about kids, from kids, for kids, to enrich their learning about how to collect, explore and analyse data. But the project goes much further, by providing support to teachers.”

Teenage schoolgirls are flocking to the microblogging service Twitter, according to early results from the educational project CensusAtSchool. One in three teenage schoolgirls (37%) has reported having a Twitter account, up from one in four (23%) in 2011.

CensusAtSchool co-director Rachel Cunliffe says the findings mirror overseas trends around Twitter, which was launched in 2006 and allows its users to send and read “tweets” of up to 140 characters each.

“The Pew Internet & American Life Project in the US has also found much higher use of Twitter by teen girls than teen boys,” she says. “One explanation for this could be that teenage girls are generally more social and more communicative than teenage boys, and use Twitter to keep in touch with their friends.”

CensusAtSchool, which started on May 6 and runs until June 15, is a biennial online project that brings statistics to life in the classroom. Supervised by teachers, students aged between 10 and 18 (Year 5 to Year 13) answer 32 questions about their lives, many of them involving practical activities such as weighing and measuring, then analyse the results in class. This year, more than 1236 teachers from 565 schools all over New Zealand are running CAS in their classrooms, and the social media results are always of great interest to their students. The snapshot comes from the first 10,000 respondents.

But it seems their love affair with Facebook has peaked. Since the last CensusAtSchool, in 2011, there has been no real change in the number of teenage school students with Facebook accounts. In 2009, just 33% of teens had a Facebook page, but by 2011, that figure had risen to 83%. This year, 83% said they had a Facebook page.

“There comes a point where it’s not really possible to grow the numbers anymore,” says Cunliffe. “Facebook uptake among school students may well be at its limit. It will be fascinating to how those numbers have changed when we run the next CensusAtSchool in 2015.”

But the future looks shakier for the once-popular social networks Bebo and MySpace – they appear to be slipping from New Zealand teens’ lives altogether. In 2009, 63% of teenage school students had a Bebo page, but by 2011 that had fallen to 27%, and this year reached a new low of 11%. The music-focused MySpace has had an even worse trajectory, slipping from 17% in 2009 to 7% in 2011. This year, despite a January relaunch, MySpace hit 6%.

“Teens are early adopters of new social networks and apps and are quite happy to start afresh, setting up and building new profiles,” says Cunliffe. “Many teens don’t know what Bebo is now, yet it was the dominant social network only a few years ago.”

CensusAtSchool, now in its sixth edition, is a collaborative project involving teachers, the University of Auckland’s Department of Statistics, Statistics New Zealand and the Ministry of Education. It is part of an international effort to boost statistical capability among young people, and is carried out in Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, the US, Japan and South Africa. The countries share some questions so comparisons can be made, but the majority reflect New Zealand students’ interests.

Almost four in ten high-school students have reported sleeping for fewer than eight hours at night – less than the nine to 10 hours generally recommended for 13 to 18-year-olds.

The snapshot comes from the first 6000 respondents to the online educational project CensusAtSchool, which aims to bring statistics to life in Year 5 to Year 13 classrooms. This year, more than 1200 teachers from 559 schools all over New Zealand are administering CAS, with students answering 32 questions about their lives and opinions. The results are then released to schools so students can become ‘data detectives’ in class.

This year’s questionnaire asked students what time they had fallen asleep the night before they took part in CensusAtSchool (rather than what time they got into bed) and what time they woke on the day.

Among high-school students (Year 9 to 13), the majority (56%) said they slept for eight to 10 hours. However, 37% of the group, or almost four in ten students, reported sleeping for eight hours or fewer. The most common time high-school students reported going to sleep was 10.30pm.

Peter Holmstead, a teacher at Wellington’s Houghton Valley School who ran CensusAtSchool in his Year 6 classroom, says the snapshot is interesting “because we all have an opinion on how much sleep children need to be able to learn effectively. The high-school students were asleep earlier than I had imagined. As the father of a 15-year-old boy who is never in bed before 11, it was useful to be able to tell him this!”

He adds, “But seriously, in my observation, students who haven’t had enough sleep can find it difficult to focus on their learning.”

At intermediate level (Year 7 and 8), just over half (54%) of intermediate pupils reported that they slept for between eight and 12 hours. A total of 32% said they slept for eight to 10 hours. The most common time intermediate students reported going to sleep was 9.30pm.

At primary level (Year 5 and 6) just over half (54%) of primary school pupils said they slept for between 10 and 12 hours. A total of 33% reported eight to 10 hours of sleep. The most common time this age-group reported going to sleep was 8.30pm.

CensusAtSchool, now in its sixth edition, is a collaborative project involving teachers, the University of Auckland’s Department of Statistics, Statistics New Zealand and the Ministry of Education. It is part of an international effort to boost statistical capability among young people, and is carried out in Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, the US, Japan and South Africa. The countries share some questions so comparisons can be made, but the majority reflect New Zealand students’ interests.

Dairy is the most common food allergy among New Zealand school children, according to early results of the nationwide CensusAtSchool project.

CensusAtSchool, which started on Monday and runs until June 15, is an online educational project that brings statistics to life in the classroom. Supervised by teachers, students answer 32 questions about their lives, many of them involving practical activities such as weighing and measuring, then analyse the results in class. This year, more than 1120 teachers from 539 schools all over New Zealand are running CAS in their classrooms.

Early results, from the first 2800 respondents, show that 8.5% of students aged 10 to 18 (Year 5 to Year 13) taking part to date report having one or more food allergies. Dairy is top of the list (3.5% of all respondents), followed by peanuts (2.5%) and eggs (2.0%), then wheat, tree nuts, shellfish, fish and soy (each under 1.9%). The consequences of a food allergy can range from uncomfortable to life-threatening.

CensusAtSchool co-director Rachel Cunliffe says a question about food allergies was added to this year’s questionnaire for the first time to reflect the lack of data on the issue. “There appears to be plenty of anecdotal evidence that this generation of children is more allergy-prone than earlier generations,” she says, “and we were keen to see what food allergies students reported and their prevalence.”

She adds, “While these are self-reported allergy figures, which may have a range of meanings and differ in their severity, the figures provide an interesting snapshot of what food allergies students have to manage.”

CensusAtSchool, now in its sixth edition, is a biennial collaborative project involving teachers, the University of Auckland’s Department of Statistics, Statistics New Zealand and the Ministry of Education. It is part of an international effort to boost statistical capability among young people, and is carried out in Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, the US, Japan and South Africa. The countries share some questions so comparisons can be made, but the majority reflect New Zealand students’ interests

What are Kiwi kids’ most common food allergies? What time do they go to sleep at night? How long can they stand on their left leg with their eyes closed?

Thousands of students aged between 10 and 18 (Year 5 to Year 13) are due to start answering these questions – and a host of others about their lives – when the online CensusAtSchool 2013 begins on Monday, May 6, the first day of the new term.

So far, 466 schools have registered to take part. Co-director Rachel Cunliffe says that teachers will administer the census in class between May 6 and June 14. The 32-question survey, available in English and Māori, aims to raise students’ interest in statistics and provide a fascinating picture of what they are thinking, feeling and doing.

“A good way to engage students in mathematics and statistics is to start from a place that’s familiar to them – their own lives and the lives of their friends,” says Cunliffe, a University of Auckland-trained statistician and owner of several internet enterprises. “Students love taking part in the activities and then, in class with their teachers, becoming “data detectives” to see what stories are in the results – and not just in their own classroom, but across the country.”

Students are being asked for the first time about food allergies to reflect the lack of data on the issue, says Cunliffe. “Students will be able to explore the dataset to compare the prevalence of self-reported allergies for different ages, ethnicities and sexes.”

CensusAtSchool, now in its sixth edition, is a biennual collaborative project involving teachers, the University of Auckland’s Department of Statistics, Statistics New Zealand and the Ministry of Education. It is part of an international effort to boost statistical capability among young people, and is carried out in Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, the US, Japan and South Africa.

Andrew Tideswell, manager of the Statistics New Zealand Education Team, says our statistics curriculum is world-leading, and CensusAtSchool helps teachers and students get the most out of it. “By engaging in CensusAtSchool, students have an experience that mirrors the structure of the national census, and it encourages them to think about the need for information and ways we might use it to solve problems,” he says. “Students develop the statistical literacy they need if New Zealand is to be an effective democracy where citizens can use statistics to make informed decisions.”

Westlake Girls High School maths teacher Dru Rose is planning for about 800 Year 9 and 10 students to take part. She’s keen to see the data that will emerge from questions about how many hours of homework students did the night before and how many hours sleep they had. “It’s real-life stuff,” she says. “We’ll be able to examine the data and see if there are any links.”

Statistics is more than just a technology for data analysis. Statistics help shape the very world in which we live:

Auckland, November 1, 2012: More than 500 teachers are expected to flock to a national road tour this month that aims to support their teaching of a new statistics curriculum to Year 13 students.

The road tour starts in Auckland on November 22 and travels to Christchurch, Dunedin and Wellington, offering presentations and real-life resources to help teachers make the most of the curriculum from the start of the 2013 school year. More than 15,000 New Zealand students studied Year 13 statistics in 2011, the last year for which figures are available. Continue reading »

Twenty-four thousand young people have disconcerting news for the All Blacks – they predict the team will make the Rugby World Cup final, but won’t take the trophy.

The sobering assessment – of which we couldn’t possibly use the word ‘choke’ – has emerged from the online educational survey CensusAtSchool, which ran from May 2-June 10 in schools from Kaitaia to Invercargill, involving students aged 8 to 17.

A total of 83% of the students predicted the All Blacks would make the final on October 23, but just 41% thought they would win.

This is in stark contrast to their parents, who are decidedly more optimistic. A New Zealand Herald/Digipoll survey in January found that 70% of a general sample of adults thought the All Blacks would triumph. A UMR poll in April, which surveyed confirmed adult rugby fans, found 77% confident the All Blacks would win.

“The students’ results were a bit of a surprise,” says CensusAtSchool co-director Rachel Cunliffe, a University of Auckland-trained statistician.

“We had expected that as children and young people are often such ardent rugby fans, they’d be talking the All Blacks right up.” The students’ verdict was also remarkably consistent across geographical areas, age and sex, says Cunliffe.

Of the 83% who think the All Blacks will make the final, 35% are picking South Africa to be the opponent and 30% Australia.

Of the 41% predicting an All Black win, 25% thought there would be a winning margin of under 5 points.

CensusAtSchool is hosted by the Department of Statistics at the University of Auckland in association with Statistics New Zealand and the Ministry of Education. This is the fifth time New Zealand has held CensusAtSchool, which is also run in Australia, Canada, Ireland, Japan, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States. The countries share some questions so comparisons can be made, but the rest reflect New Zealand students’ interests.

Students were supervised by their teachers in class as they answered 31 online questions about themselves in English or Māori. Some questions required some practical weighing and measuring skills such as their arm-span measurement and the weight of their schoolbags. Others sought opinions, like their favourite subject and television programme.

“CensusAtSchool is about showing in a practical and real-life way the value of statistics in everyday life,” says Cunliffe. “The data is now being analysed, and will be sent back to schools so students and teachers can analyse it together, which provides more learning opportunities”.

“CensusAtSchool allows students to get a unique view of themselves – and we all get insights into New Zealand childhoods that we couldn’t get in any other way.”

Further CensusAtSchool insights will be released in coming weeks as data is analysed, says Cunliffe.

Facebook is Kiwi teens’ favourite social networking tool by a big margin, according to early results of the national online survey CensusAtSchool.

A total of 84% of the first 1800 teenagers surveyed said they have a Facebook page, compared to 33% in the last CensusAtSchool, in 2009.

The early results of the biannual educational project, which runs from May 2 – June 10, also show how fast once-popular social networking sites can crash from favour. Just 27% of the 13 to 18-year-old students surveyed have a Bebo page (down from 63% in 2009) and 7% a MySpace page (down from 17% in 2009).

“The numbers show how quickly social networking sites can go from hero to zero among teenagers,” says CensusAtSchool co-director Rachel Cunliffe, a University of Auckland-trained statistician and owner of several internet enterprises. “Young people are early adopters and they’re also fickle – they’ll go where their friends are going. And, of course, that means that although Facebook has the top spot among New Zealand teenagers at the moment, there’s no certainty that it will stay there.”

Cunliffe was surprised to see that hype about the rapid spread of the Twitter short-messaging system isn’t matched by usage – just 20% of the teenagers had a Twitter account.

Supervised by more than 700 teachers, thousands of students aged between 7 and 18 (Year 5 to Year 13) are answering 31 online questions about themselves, from their arm-span measurement to how they travel to school, and even how many hours’ sleep they had the night before.

This year’s CensusAtSchool also asks whether students think the All Blacks will make the Rugby World Cup final – and if so, against which team. The 15-minute survey is available in English and Māori.

CensusAtSchool is hosted by the Department of Statistics at the University of Auckland in association with Statistics New Zealand and the Ministry of Education. This is the fifth time New Zealand has held CensusAtSchool, which is also run in Australia, Canada, Ireland, Japan, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States.

“CensusAtSchool is about showing pupils the value of statistics in everyday life,” says Cunliffe. “Students and teachers will get data back that they will analyse together in the classroom, and that will provide even more learning opportunities.

“Students will also end with a unique view of themselves – and we’ll all have an insight into New Zealand life for young people that we couldn’t get in any other way.”

For more information on schools participating and any other inquiries, please contact Rachel Cunliffe (CensusAtSchool co-director) on 027 3833 746 or visit http://www.censusatschool.org.nz