This paper is from Session 8I: Research on risk literacy
Full topic list
which comes under Topic 8: Research in statistics education

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

Risk literacy: first steps in primary school



Data about risks in health care or investments are usually presented in terms of proportions, probabilities and percentages. Research shows that risk communication can be misleading as these representation formats are sometimes hard to understand. Thus a first level of “Risk Literacy” should be achieved as early as possible. With cognitive psychologists of the Harding Center for Risk Literacy I developed a school intervention on “Risk” for fourth graders. The intervention contains elements of proportional reasoning, loss/benefit trade-offs, conditional probabilities as well as dealing with relative and absolute risks. Prior studies have shown that hands-on materials in form of colored tinker-cubes in combination with “natural frequencies” and iconic representations constitute a good approach. The intervention was tested and evaluated by means of a pre-test, a post-test and a follow-up test. The results indicate that students benefited by the intervention as test performances increased significantly.