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Message from NZAMT received from NZQA 13th October regarding the 2016 External Examinations for AS1.3, 1.6 and 1.12:

We have had notification from NZQA that they believe schools will find the Level 1 examination papers for November consistent with their expectations and recent previous assessment of the identified standards.  Hence schools can confidently use recent past NZQA examinations  (since the 2011 realignment of L1 standards) in preparing their students for the external examinations.

Posted by Derek Smith

Future Learn are offering a new online course combining coding and data analysis skills.

“Software and data make the world go round.” Learn programming, to analyse and visualise open data, with this free online course that starts on the 10th of October.

Share this with students or colleagues that have one or both of these topics as an interest. The coding language is Python.

Learn more and sign up.

A webinar for you or your students, brought to you by the American Statistical Association.

Statisticians and data scientists are employed by all types of organizations, including professional sports teams. Join the AMA sports analytics webinar to learn what sports statisticians do and what education is required to become the “Bill James” of your favorite sport.

View the webinar details here. Remember to set your alarm!

(pdf version)
Mathematics and Statistics are both core members of the STEM subjects and potent enablers of all the others. This document clarifies what is distinctive about statistics and its educational needs.

What distinguishes Statistics from the rest of “Mathematics and Statistics?”

Statistics is the science of learning from data and of measuring, controlling and communicating uncertainty” (American Statistical Association). It has real data at its core, and its defining purpose is learning about the real world by collecting, analysing, and interpreting data. Anything else simply provides a means that may be useful for achieving those ends. Concerns about uncertainty and data variation lead to distinctive thought processes.

How Statistics is changing

While the most fundamental, underpinning concepts of statistics are unchanging, the means by which we extract insights from data are changing rapidly as a result of digital technology – and technologically enabled advances, such as advances in data visualisation and data wrangling, are making its benefits accessible to a much wider cross-section of students and society. The nature and size of the data we have to deal with is changing rapidly too (e.g. the rise of big data), as is its increasing ubiquity.

Because of ongoing changes in the technologies people interact with and the automation of routine processes, skills in thinking with data, and skills in communicating the real-world lessons we learn from data, are becoming much more important (for almost everyone) than skills in doing.

How Statistics pedagogy is changing

The shifts from doing to thinking and communicating, and from “by-hand” construction to the routine use of digital technology, pose huge challenges: for teachers because they were themselves educated in the historical modes; and for a system that relies on changes being slow enough so that the majority of examiners, textbook writers, experienced teachers, etc. can be current.

What Statistics needs

Statistics education in New Zealand needs mechanisms for transmitting core learnings from very small numbers of specialists to the system as a whole. What it means to teach “thinking” and “communicating” about data, and arriving at understandings of how to go about that, are things that very small numbers of thinkers, researchers and lead teachers are developing, drawing on fundamental educational principles and real-world experience with data analysis. These learnings are not something that can just happen in Learning Communities, though these Communities should be a very useful downstream component of dissemination and professional development strategies.

What Statistics has

In New Zealand we have some of the best statistics education researchers in the world, the most forward-looking curriculum, many innovative and creative teachers, excellent relationships between stakeholders, excellent international connections, and a desire for continued progress.


The Education Committee of the New Zealand Statistical Association (NZSA) is very keen to work with any stakeholder who wishes to further improve New Zealand’s statistical education system so that it gives a more valuable preparation for the future lives and careers of our students, and helps build a more data literate and capable society.

Education Committee, New Zealand Statistical Association, 1 August 2016

(To contact, email the Committee’s Convenor:

Want to get a handle on BIG data? A course for scholarship students?

The Queensland University of Technology is offering a free online PD course. Get a practical insight into big data – and popular tools for collecting, analysing and visualising it.

Find out more

Term 2 News

Kia ora Statistics teachers.

We hope you are enjoying teaching students to discover stories in data, and to practice their statistical literacy skills.

Skills in statistics will be invaluable now and in the future, check out The beauty of data visualization then see New Zealand clearly.

Term 2 Updates:

Nga Mihi

The CensusAtSchool team



See how your students could soon be using statistics and models to predict the future.

There are examples of statistical careers and what statisticians have done to help solve problems with data.

The future of prediction


Some ideas to help students reach their statistics and statistical literacy learning goals:

Primary and Intermediate:


  • Fathom & iNZight: Technology for secondary statistics teaching.
  • Herald article: on careers in statistics.
  • A framework for thinking about informal statistical inference. (Makar, K. & Rubin, A., 2009) Professional reading:
  • Figure: Lillian Grace was the plenary speaker at both Canterbury and Auckland Statistics Teachers day. The Figure site allows everyone be an explorer and user of data. If you or your students want data to answer a burning question this is the place to contact.
  • 2015/16 Census: Have all your classes been involved? Experiencing the census at all levels of the curriculum is important for students to demonstrate that they are “managing variation” and are involved in every aspect of data collection and creation.
  • Statistical displays: What about  running a poster competition for Statistics week?!  Below are some examples from oversea’s, how can we improve on these?
  • Tour Aotearoa live! Robyn Headifen has suggested following the cycling so much much great data!

What other ideas do you have?

How are you linking with your colleagues in other subjects? How do they approach statistical literacy and use statistics in scientific (both social and the physical sciences) investigations?

Do you have an Investing in Educational Success IES project to share or would like to begin? Also let us know of any cool Stats Apps you’re using with your students.

Finally, a big thanks to teachers who are using the share resources function on CAS.

Nga mihi

The CensusAtSchool Team

This first term newsletter is important reading for all secondary mathematics and statistics teachers.

Upcoming workshops for current PLD are advertised and useful links and tips are provided by Derek Smith and the national facilitation team.

Secondary Mathematics and Statistics Newsletter Term 1 2016

Derek has also sent through some other interesting links that didn’t make it into the newsletter:

Some reminders:

NZAMT14 Conference workshop resources

2015 Ernest Duncan Award Winner Ricky Pedersen has offered to make his Critical Thinking Booklet available for download.  

Interesting bits and pieces

Some research on happiness in schools for your interest. It would be interesting to ask your faculty members, and yourself, “What makes you happy during the school day or during a lesson?”
Some interesting data sets from a NZ long term study:


TED Talks links to videos


An ERO publication

Learning geometry via Origami 

Why is learning fraction arithmetic so difficult? From STEM Learning

A look at the methods of teaching fraction arithmetic in Shanghai  

Learning maths through song and dance 

Hope that your athletics and Swimming sports day are progessing well while the country enjoys the settled weather we are enjoying.


Our hearts go out to the people in Canterbury as they wrestle with nature.


Näku i roto i ngä mihi, nä


Derek Smith|Mathematics National Co-ordinator/Central South Facilitator (Secondary)|Education Support Services|

Te Tapuae o Rehua Consortium Mau ki te ako|University of Otago College of Education|021 913 150|

Welcome back!

We hope you all had a great summer holiday and are looking forward to teaching lots of innovative, well-designed statistics lessons this year.

To help you out we start the year off with a great new data card resource for interactive and effective statistics lessons created by Anna Martin, and some helpful tips on describing Time series trends prepared by the Mathematics and Statistics Facilitators and the NZSA Education Committee.

Returning students may ask you to review their 2015 external exam scripts. Derek Smith has provided links to the level 1, level 2 and level 3 cut scores. Please use this information to inform students if they should proceed with the reconsideration process. Please use your professional judgement with the question totals and overall total (Grade Score marking used) in the November Externals, which is not the same as that used for the assessment of the e-Mcat/MCAT. The assessment conditions for the 2016 externals are also now available on the NZQA website. Level 1, Level 2, Level 3.

As you and your colleagues review and reflect on the 2015 year, we hope CensusAtSchool delivered useful content and information. CensusAtSchool aims to provide the most up to date, statistics teaching resources and information, in the news, by NZSA or other Statistical forums or on the internet. If you want a “heads up” on what to read, watch or do this year the best place to start is right here on CensusAtSchool.

If you ever think that our heads haven’t been up high enough and we seem to have missed something that’s coming soon, please let us know:

Please forward this email to any new colleagues who may not receive our weekly emails, these can help keep your colleagues up-to-date with the resources and information on CensusAtSchool.

Nga mihi

Rachel, Chris and Anne