Date of Award

12-2010

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Advisor

Horton, Robert

Committee Member

Igo , L Brent

Committee Member

Green , Robert

Committee Member

Mittelstaedt , John

Abstract

Statistical literacy involves critically evaluating and questioning statistics encountered in everyday life. The purpose of this study was to evaluate students' questions (challenges) concerning statistics encountered in everyday life and how these challenges differed before and after taking an undergraduate statistics course, entitled Statistics in Everyday Life 200 (SIEL), which focused on statistical literacy. One hundred forty-four students were given three media articles to indicate questions they had concerning statistics cited in the articles and explain why these questions were important to ask. Students' responses were categorized based on the topic and were assessed using the Statistics Literacy Components Rubric (SLCR). The SLCR is composed of eight components of statistical literacy; students' responses were scored based on the level of awareness of each component. In addition, at the end of the semester, students completed reflection papers pertaining to their past experiences and their experiences in SIEL. Responses were analyzed to determine associations between classifications of responses and sex and effort levels.
Minimal to essentially no awareness of any of the eight components of statistical literacy in SLCR were observed prior to and after taking SIEL. The highest levels of awareness were observed for the following components: Definition, Method, and Lurking variable. Significant changes in the level of statistical literacy were observed after taking SIEL for all statistical literacy components except Causality, but these changes were small and appear to be of little practical significance. Significant changes in the pattern of topic category responses were observed after taking SIEL for each media article, and differences in responses of topic categories were observed for males and females. Despite the evidence that low levels of statistical literacy were observed, reflection paper responses indicated that students believed they were statistically literate and that the course had changed the way they looked at statistics in everyday life. This study provides a foundation for future research in statistical literacy and aid in the further development of rubrics to assess components of statistical literacy.

Share

COinS