This paper is from Session 4A: A taxonomy of statistics courses
Full topic list
which comes under Topic 4: Statistics education at the post secondary (tertiary) level

(Monday 12th, 11:00-12:30)

Banishing the theory-applications dichotomy from statistics education



The math-stat versus applications dichotomy in statistics courses has had a regressive influence on modernization of statistics education. Statistics theory involves much more than mathematics, and safe application of statistical methods requires an understanding of the theory behind the methods. Courses which focus on theory alone, or on applications alone, are lacking the linkages needed for a useful knowledge of the subject. But while all statistics courses should include guided experiences in applying statistics theory to application contexts, the choice of contexts should reflect the needs of the particular group of students targeted. In this paper, the implications of a context-dependent taxonomy of courses is explored. This apprenticeship approach has advantages for student motivation and for the authenticity of student learning.