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

This Wednesday, April 29, two experts will present on this important topic as part of SXSW EDU’s virtual roundup to replace this year’s cancelled event.

Join us 1-2pm ET on Wednesday, April 29

In this online session, 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, will lead 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 Now to Hold Your Spot

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!

A few teachers have contacted us with questions and feedback about Question 1 in the questionnaire which asks if students are male or female, so in this email, I’ll explain more to everyone.

Firstly, it is great that you and your students are thinking and talking about the questions and answers! This is an important part of survey design.

Some of our CensusAtSchool questions match word-for-word with the official Census questions. This means that we use tried-and-tested and familiarly worded demographic questions which have been tailored to the New Zealand context, such as asking birth country and ethnicity.

Many people assume that the first question we ask (and that the official Census asks) is about gender identity. However, it is asking about biological sex.

It is easy to get these mixed up as the question itself does not say either one in the wording!

Added to that, there has been a tradition of using the word ‘gender’ in school environments when we really mean ‘sex’ because of the long-recognised problem of many kids getting silly whenever the word ‘sex’ is mentioned.

Now that gender identity has come much more to the forefront of society’s attention, this common educational workaround is now creating its own problems which will take time to fully solve.

Currently, the official definition Stats NZ uses for biological sex is binary. In the last two years, Stats NZ has tested adding a third response option using either ‘indeterminate’ or ‘intersex’. Of these tests, Stats NZ said the data was of very low quality and included facetious responses and responses made in error:

“Given the very low prevalence of the intersex population, the test results indicated that inaccurate responses for a third category would be as common as – or outnumber – legitimate responses for this category.”

If one of your students is intersex, I recommend they do not answer Question 1 for CensusAtSchool. Stats NZ advice was for people to request a paper copy of the census and then to check both boxes on the form.

Currently, gender identity is not yet asked in the official census and is not asked by CensusAtSchool. It is also not yet asked in other countries official census.

Stats NZ wrote that the reason not yet to ask gender identity is purely for statistical reasons:

“Our testing did not give us confidence we could collect quality information on these topics through the census. Writing census questions is complex and demands a great deal of expertise and testing to ensure the answers provide meaningful, high-quality data that can be used to inform decisions.”

This page is an excellent summary of the issues and the work being done in this area:
https://www.stats.govt.nz/reports/sex-gender-and-sexual-orientation

I hope this helps in some way towards your understanding.

The only national survey to comprehensively chart children’s views of their own lives is taking place across New Zealand from March 4. This year, we will learn from Kiwi kids on issues as wide-ranging as climate change, the amount of time they spend on digital devices, how they handle interpersonal issues, and their own attitudes and perceived parental attitudes to activities such as drinking and smoking by young people. Preview the questions in English and te reo Māori here.

CensusAtSchool New Zealand, known in te reo Māori as TataurangaKiTeKura Aotearoa, is a non-profit, online educational project that aims to bring statistics to life in both English and Māori-medium classrooms. Supervised by teachers, students from years 5-13 anonymously answer 30 questions in English or te reo Māori, and later explore the results in class. CensusAtSchool runs every two years, and in 2017, more than 32,000 students took part, representing 534 schools and 1,062 teachers.

CensusAtSchool, now in its ninth 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.

2019 Ihaka lectures

Rise of the machine learners:

Statistical learning in the computational era

Don’t miss this set of four lectures held from March to April. Get a group together, invite your  colleagues from other departments, or take your stats scholarship students. See the program: IhakaDLE19.

 

Read the latest submission from the NZSA Education Committee to the Ministry of Education’s request for feedback on the future of NCEA stated at: http://www.conversation.education.govt.nz/conversations/ncea-have-your-say/get-involved-today/

Read also the latest submission from the New Zealand Mathematical Society (NZMS) Education Committee.

Both Associations endorse one another’s submissions on the future of NCEA. (The NZSA endorsement of the NZMS submission is here.)