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This is a session of Topic 8: Research in statistics education

(Wednesday 14th, 11:00-13:00)

Making sense of risk



Understanding risk is important to the public understanding of scientific issues as they are portrayed in the media, to the formulation of public policy, and in making the many judgements that shape our everyday lives. Risk is now becoming recognised as a school topic, cutting across the disciplines of science, mathematics, statistics, and citizenship.

However, both understanding and teaching risk are problematic. The literature contains many studies that demonstrate that without a mathematical understanding of (probabilistic) situations, people’s reactions are often guided by intuitions, some of which are rooted in inadequate cognitive heuristics. And how does a teacher convince a student that smoking is a cause of cancer when everyone is acquainted with cases which seem to demonstrate the opposite? And what does this use of the term “cause” mean anyway?

To further complicate matters, there is no agreed-upon definition of risk; indeed, making judgements of risk seems to involve value-systems which to understand take us into the sociological realm.

We wish to report on some initial studies into the teaching and learning of risk and to open up discussion on the nature of risk and how teaching and learning of risk might be researched.


PaperTitlePresenter(s) / Author(s)
8C1Teaching uncertainty and risk in mathematics and sciencePhillip Kent (United Kingdom)
Dave Pratt (United Kingdom)
Ralph Levinson (United Kingdom)
Cristina Yogui (United Kingdom)
Ramesh Kapadia (United Kingdom)
8C2Conditions for risk assessment as a topic for probabilistic educationLaura Martignon (Germany)
Marco Monti (Germany)
8C3Exploring risk through simulationTim Erickson (United States)
8C4Workshop: Tools for exploring ideas about riskCliff Konold (United States)
Dave Pratt (United Kingdom)