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The ZDM special issue on Innovations in statistical modelling to connect data, chance and context is now freely available (open access) during October.

It would be great, if you could distribute the news via your networks.

https://www.springer.com/journal/11858/updates/18235366

Published 9 September 2020

Royal Society Te Apārangi remembers celebrated mathematician Sir Vaughan Jones

It is with sadness we share news of the passing of Sir Vaughan Jones FRS Hon FRSNZ, aged 67, from the complications from an ear infection. Sir Jones will be remembered as a brilliant mathematician who made outstanding contributions to the field of mathematics, scientific research and higher education.

Sir Vaughan Jones was born and raised in New Zealand and went to the University of Auckland, graduating in 1973.

He moved overseas to earn his doctorate from the University of Geneva, and became a Professor of Mathematics at the University of California at Berkeley in 1985.

Despite his career overseas, Sir Vaughan worked hard to promote mathematics of the highest quality in Aotearoa. He has made key contributions to scientific research and post graduate education here in New Zealand and across the globe.

He is best known for the discovery of an unexpected link between the mathematical study of knots – a field dating back to the 19th century – and statistical mechanics, a form of mathematics used to study complex systems with large numbers of components. He found a new polynomial invariant for knots and links in three-dimensional space – something that had been missed by topologists during the preceding 60 years.

His discovery of what is now called the Jones polynomial had origins in the theory of von Neumann algebras.  Friend and long-time colleague of Sir Vaughan, Distinguished Professor Marston Conder FRSNZ told the NZ Herald that his work has had a wide application.

“[His] work in theoretical mathematics, which basically helps distinguish one knot from another, had application in biological science, enabling scientists to identify whether two different types of RNA are from the same source,” Marston said.

“That was an outstanding achievement because from theoretical mathematics, his discoveries had real significance in an entirely different field.”

Because of this work, Sir Vaughan became the first ever winner from the Southern Hemisphere of the Fields Medal in 1990, which is widely regarded as the “Nobel Prize of Mathematics” because of the prestige it carries. He famously accepted the award in an All Blacks rugby jersey. He remains the only New Zealander to have won the Fields Medal.

In 1991, Sir Vaughan was the first winner of the Society’s prestigious Rutherford Medal. In 2012 the Society established the Jones Medal in his honour, for lifetime achievement in pure or applied mathematics or statistics.

Sir Vaughan was elected as a Fellow of The Royal Society, London in 1990 and elected as an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand in 1991. In 2002 he was made a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (DCNZM) (later re-designated Knight Companion KNZM).

Our deepest condolences go out to the whānau and friends of Sir Vaughan – he has left a prominent mark on the academic community, one that will not be forgotten.

Sir Vaughan is survived by his wife, Martha Jones, and three children.

Source: Royal Society Te Apārangi

Awash in Data, is a free open-source e-book authored by the fabulous Tim Erickson. Designed for both teachers and students, this rich, interactive resource walks users through introductory lessons in data science with CODAP (Common Online Data Analysis Platform). Embedded CODAP documents bring each lesson to life. Give it a go!

Dr Michelle Dalrymple, Mathematics and Statistics Faculty Head at Cashmere High School in Christchurch, is the 2019 Prime Minister’s Science Teacher Winner.

Michelle’s teaching stands out because it is strongly based on cutting-edge mathematics and statistics education research, while maintaining originality, creativity, and fun with strategies that are relevant and inspiring for her students. Read more

What’s the superpower every student needs? Statistics, of course.

Dr. Samuel Echevarria-Cruz, Dean of Liberal Arts, Social and Behavioral Sciences at Austin Community College, and Rob Santos, Vice President and Chief Methodologist at The Urban Institute, led a discussion about how statistics—the science of learning from data—is the new superpower every student needs in their studies and career.

Statistics influences industries as varied as sports, fashion, public health, and more, and continues to increase in its importance and opportunities. In fact, statistician was named the #1 Best Business Job and #6 among the top 100 Best Jobs by U.S. News & World Report.

Now more than ever, it’s a great time to take a statistics class and prepare yourself for a bright future.

Register to watch a replay

The Concord Consortium are organising an interactive webinar on April 29 at 4 PM ET. Register today. Participants will explore Fast Plants genetic data in your three-dimensional instruction. Participants will receive a lesson plan to teach genetic inheritance patterns and a certificate for one hour of continuing education credit.

See CODAP latest news and happenings: Covid-19 in the US

https://mailchi.mp/concord/april-2020-dse-enews?e=e9cd617879

 

This is Statistics are celebrating Mathematics & Statistics Awareness Month with a month-long series—meet a statistician in a Facebook Live AMA every Thursday through the end of April. Learn more about this series and the first statistician, Sam Echevarria, here: https://thisisstatistics.org/mathematics-statistics-awareness-month-meet-a-statistician-series

 

 

NCEA Change Package

15/05/19

In 2018, the Minister of Education launched a national conversation on the future of NCEA. New Zealanders were asked to share their views and experiences of NCEA – the challenges, the successes, what they like, and what could be done better.

The Ministerial Advisory Group, the Professional Advisory Group and the Ministry of Education provided advice to the Minister on recommended changes to NCEA, based on the findings of the 2018 engagement phase. (See NZSA’s response.)

The Government has now announced the change package which has resulted from this engagement. These changes are outlined in more detail in NCEA Change Package Overview 2019.

Statement sent to NZQA by the NZSA Education Committee.

External NCEA assessments in Statistics 2018
Dated 15 May 2019
External assessment and The NZ Curriculum

The Education Committee of the NZ Statistical Association would like to offer some general feedback on the 2018 external assessments in Statistics. The Committee would like the teaching and learning of
Statistics to continue to develop the potential of The NZ Curriculum in Statistics. We see the external assessors as being partners in this development. If shifts in assessment happen in 2020 and beyond, we would like to be sure that the teaching community is very aware of them, and we would be happy to help spread the awareness. Clarity and consistency of language is important throughout. This is across levels and between externals and internals.

Level 1 91037 Demonstrate understanding of chance and data
https://www.nzqa.govt.nz/nqfdocs/ncea-resource/exams/2018/91037-exm-2018.pdf
Some questions involve knowledge of contexts. For internals, knowledge of contexts is expected.
Consistency in this between externals and internals is desirable. Is there some method of providing relevant context information in the external exams? We are happy to discuss methods for this further.
The terms ‘probability’ (as used here) and ‘proportion’ (as used at Levels 2 and 3) should be used consistently across the levels.
The words ‘AND’ and ‘not’ (Q1b(i)) could be written in consistent type. The term ‘significant’ (Q2b(i)) should not be used in statistical work unless it means ‘statistical significance’. A word like ‘key’ is better.
We would like to be sure that NZQA ensures that colours used are effective for sight-impaired students. We are not sure that this is the case here. We think that pie graphs should be avoided. Bar graphs are better. In Q3a(i), the words ‘tend to’ are not needed. The question does later (Q3a(iii)) ask for ‘trends and features’.
Overall for this exam, we are pleased to see the use of real context, data, and graphs of the data. The exam is well positioned at the level of Curriculum Level 6, and covers a wide range of the ‘chance and
data’ at this level.

Level 2 91267 Apply probability methods in solving problems
https://www.nzqa.govt.nz/nqfdocs/ncea-resource/exams/2018/91267-exm-2018.pdf
Again, the terms ‘probability’ and ‘proportion’ should be used consistently across the levels.
In Q2a and b, the exam gives tables and asks useful questions about them. In Q3 stem, it gives the ‘written information’ that is mentioned in the Specifications, and asks for probabilities to be found from them. This is just one example of a style of using probability methods that is prevalent in the exams.
This style is within the expectations of the teaching community, as a way of meeting the Curriculum’s achievement outcomes. . However, in the near future, we would like to carry out a careful investigation
of the teaching, learning, and assessment of probability.
For Q3, we are interested in the geographical knowledge expected, and whether the map helps or hinders with the context.  The binaries ‘windy/still’ (Q2) and ‘wet/dry’ (Q3) are used. We are not sure that these make sense, or whether they need further definition. Again, we acknowledge the use of contexts and data.
The coverage of this exam seems to be incomplete. The Specifications contain ‘describing and comparing distributions’, with ‘shape, centre, spread’ via graphs; and ‘risk or relative risk’. The exam misses the opportunity to compare the experimental distribution and the fitted theoretical distribution in Q1a.

Level 3 91584 Evaluate statistically based reports
https://www.nzqa.govt.nz/nqfdocs/ncea-resource/exams/2018/91584-exm-2018.pdf
https://www.nzqa.govt.nz/nqfdocs/ncea-resource/exams/2018/91584-res-2018.pdf
We question whether all students will be able to use the colours and the sometimes small text in the infographics in Reports 1, and 2.
We commend the examiners on finding three reports with suitable contexts, and for assessing in keeping with the Curriculum’s target of ‘statistical thinking’.

Level 3 91585 Apply probability concepts in solving problems
https://www.nzqa.govt.nz/nqfdocs/ncea-resource/exams/2018/91585-exm-2018.pdf
We like the use of simulation in this exam (Q2d).
We question how much understanding we can expect for the true vs model vs experimental relationship (Q3c(iii)).
We are very aware of how hard is is to create an assessment in probability. We acknowledge that the examiners have found some meaningful contexts, and that this is not easy. The exam covers the
‘methods’ in the Achievement Standard’s Note 4.

Level 3 91586 Apply probability distributions in solving problems
https://www.nzqa.govt.nz/nqfdocs/ncea-resource/exams/2018/91586-exm-2018.pdf
Again, we acknowledge that the examiners have found some meaningful contexts. However, the exam does not ask for visual comparisons of experimental distributions and fitted theoretical distributions.

The Concord Consortium hosts a number of data science games and projects for Year 9 – 13 students. CODAP makes data science accessible and empowers students to understand and analyze complex data without hours of coding lessons or years of advanced mathematics. A new collection of Dynamic Data Science activities is now available to get students working with data!

Also check out:

If you are involved in any citizen science projects around Aotearoa, let CensusAtSchool know about your project.

PS: Did you know the R coding language was created in New Zealand!