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Teachers urged to turn students into ‘data detectives’

The Ministry of Education and Statistics NZ are encouraging teachers to sign up to CensusAtSchool, an online statistics project that turns students into “data detectives”.

Students aged 9 to 18 (Year 5 to Year 13) use a variety of digital devices to answer 35 online questions in English or te reo Māori about their lives and opinions.

Students answer questions such as: Where did you eat your dinner last night? Is bullying among students a problem at your school? About how many txt messages did you send yesterday? Which two teams will contest the Rugby World Cup final? They are also asked to carry out activities such as weighing their schoolbag.

Ministry of Education Deputy Secretary for Student Achievement Dr Graham Stoop says more than 1600 teachers from over 800 schools are taking part in CensusAtSchool in their maths and statistics classes from March 16 until May 29. The data will then be released for classroom analysis.

“Students love becoming ‘data detectives’. This is a fun and engaging way for them to learn about the relevance of statistics to everyday life. CensusAtSchool is linked to the national statistics curriculum, so we encourage teachers in primary and secondary schools to take part,” says Dr Stoop.

The project is run every two years by the University of Auckland’s Department of Statistics, with support from Statistics NZ and the Ministry of Education.

Statistics NZ’s education manager Andrew Tideswell says statistical literacy is essential in a data-driven world. “Students with strong statistical skills are not only in demand in the workplace, they’re in a position to make informed decisions about the data around them every day.”