This paper is from Session 8I: Research into learning statistics in vocational educational and training
Full topic list
which comes under Topic 8: Research in statistics education

(Tuesday 13th, 14:00-16:00)

The influence of technology on what vocational students need to learn about statistics: the case of lab technicians




The presence of advanced technology in the workplace influences what employees need to know. This paper focuses on the question of what student lab technicians in vocational education need to learn about statistics in the presence of technology. Through interviews with lab apprentices, apprentice supervisors and teachers, a questionnaire administered to apprentices, and workplace observations we have identified what statistical knowledge is taught and required. The knowledge required turned out to diverge across labs and be highly influenced by the degree to which work is mediated by technology. For example, calibration and validation of measurement instruments is based on linear regression, but is often automated. Many computations are carried out on Excel sheets, but not all schools dedicate enough instruction time on spreadsheets. At least 30% of the apprentices (N=300) felt insufficiently prepared in terms of mathematics or statistics.