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3. What difficulties arise when developing this teaching? In fact, how is the teaching carried out? The observation of the teaching sequence in two successive academic years (1998-99) (1999-2000) and the interactions between the lecturer and the students in the different sessions are analysed in Chapter 6. The main points of difficulty and change predicted in the teaching are described. 4. How does the teaching work for students? What are their difficulties? What do they learn? (evolution of personal meaning along instruction). A total of 117 students were sampled. In each session the students, working in pairs, produced written documents with their solution to open-ended tasks. These documents were analysed to identify correct and incorrect elements of meaning that students used in their solutions. The progression in learning was clear as regards the theoretical concepts and use of software, and less general as regards the methods of solution or real data analysis activities. 5. What is the students’ personal knowledge after teaching?. We used two different instruments to assess students’ learning: a) a questionnaire; b) a data analysis activity from a new data file to be solved with the use of computers. The data analysis showed that the majority of students were able to understand isolated concepts associated with the normal distribution (on average each student gave 70% of correct answers in the questionnaire). On the contrary there was a great difficulty in integrating these elements to solve real data analysis problems (only 40% of students succeeded in the open task). We conclude that data analysis is a high level activity which is difficult to teach in the time available for an introductory course, and that the main aim in these courses should be to train “users of statistics”. Finally to complement our work, we compare the main differences in learning between students with and without previous statistical knowledge.
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61 INFORMATION ON PAST CONFERENCES 1. STOCHASTICS PAPERS AT MERGA CONFERENCE, SYDNEY, JULY 2001 Reported by John M.Truran The citation for the Proceedings is: J. Bobis, B. Perry & M. Mitchelmore (2001). Numeracy and Beyond. Proceedings of the Twenty-fourth Annual Conference of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia Incorporated, University of Sydney, 30 Jun-4 July, 2001 No place of publication: Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia Incorporated. Burgess, T. Assessing the statistics knowledge of preservice teachers (Vol. 1, pp. 114-121). This paper reports on aspects of preservice teachers' statistical knowledge as assessed through an open- ended problem-solving task. This type of task is considered to be a useful and valuable way of assessing the development of data sense. The level of a teacher's knowledge is known to be critical in relation to effective teaching. This study indicates that the level of statistics thinking of preservice students presents some challenges for teacher educators to address within their courses and programmes.
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