Contributed paper list

   (Thursday 15th, 14:00-16:00)

Student attitudes to real-world projects in an introductory statistics course


Ann Bingham (United States)


Constructivist research has shown that for real mathematics learning to occur, students need to be engaged, active learners rather than passive recipients of knowledge. Student projects can often facilitate this engagement. In an introductory statistics class for liberal arts students, a series of authentic projects were assigned. The projects showcased real world applications of material recently studied in the classroom. They varied from analysis of public data available on the internet to gathering and analyzing data collected via student-designed surveys. This paper discusses student reflections on the learning that occurred while completing these projects. Initial reactions were often dismay and discouragement, but a survey given to all students near the end of the course found more positive attitudes. Longer surveys were sent to a random sample of students. We consider students’ attitudes and perceptions of their learning successes and difficulties.