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International Handbook of Research in Statistics Education

Dani Ben-Zvi, Katie Makar, and Joan Garfield, editors
Publication Date: 
Number of Pages: 
Springer International Handbooks of Education
[Reviewed by
Mark Causapin
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This book is an important resource for researchers in the field of Statistics Education. Written collaboratively by a diverse group of educators and statisticians, this work provides the “state of the art” (as of 2018) and a vantage point useful for planning future pedagogical research. The articles in this handbook summarize what is known about the teaching and learning of Statistics, the current developments in the field, and the many unknowns and questions we still have. This can be particularly useful for junior faculty and doctoral students who are just beginning their work and developing their ideas for future research. Overall, it is an important contribution to the improvement of teaching and learning of Statistics.

The handbook is organized into three parts: the first covers chapters on the interplay between the areas of Statistics, Statistics Education, and research on Statistics Education. The goal of the authors was to establish a common ground, and encourage interaction between statisticians, educators, and researchers. It covers the nature, importance, and impact of Statistics; how as a methodological discipline, it is not Mathematics; and a description of the newer field of Statistics Education.

The second part covers both old and new findings about the teaching, learning, and understanding of Statistics. This part captures the gaps in our current knowledge base. It includes the following themes: research on the “Practice of Statistics,” in particular, introducing the “big ideas” of statistical practice in the school level; research on reasoning about data; research about how students think of uncertainty; research on introducing children to modeling variability; research about teaching statistical inference; research on Statistics learning trajectories; and research on Statistics teachers’ cognitive and affective characteristics.

Finally, the third part focuses on “looking ahead” and examines emerging areas of Statistics Education research. Additionally, it speculates and proposes future directions for research in the field. The editors see three themes that are significant for the future: holistic approaches to improving Statistics Education; the importance of statistical literacy for citizenship; and the important role of technology. It covers ideas for curricular change, the design of statistical learning environments, and the building up of capacity in terms of Statistics educators.

This handbook is unique because it is the only work so far that captures the past, the present, and the future of this new and dynamic field. It is international in scope, covering insights from researchers from many parts of the world. It is a reflection of what the field has become and what it aims to be. Behind the research backdrop, there is a sense of agency and unity among educators, statisticians, and researchers in improving the teaching and learning of Statistics. With this, it is worth pointing out George Cobb’s view of the field in his foreword:

Uniquely in statistics education, all three of the (1) subject itself, (2) those committed to teaching the subject well, and (3) those who use science to study the teaching and learning of the subject share a “common core,” the subject itself. Our history bears this out: there have been no “stat wars.”

Mark Causapin is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN.

See the table of contents in the publisher's webpage.