Contributed paper list

   (Wednesday 16th, 10:55-12:25)   In session C10C

Introductory statistics students’ conceptual understanding of variation and measures of variation in a distribution


Rachel Chaphalkar, Cindy Leary


Rachel Chaphalkar (United States)


The Guidelines for Assessment and Instruction in Statistics Education College Report (Aliaga, et. al., 2010) encourage a focus on conceptual understanding and statistical thinking in introductory statistics courses. One of the main components of Wild and Pfannkuch’s (1999) model of statistical thinking is consideration of variation. The concept of variation is extremely important when students learn about sampling methods, probability, distributions, and sampling distributions (Shaughnessy, 2007). Previous studies have focused on either students’ conceptual understanding about variation in a distribution (Cooper & Shore, 2008) or measures of variation (delMas & Liu, 2005; Turegun, 2011). In this observational study, students responded to conceptual questions asking them to compare the variability in histograms in general or using numerical measures. In this paper, we will compare students’ ability to reason conceptually about variation and with measures of variation in a distribution.