Since 1840, the American Statistical Association (ASA) has hosted one of the largest gatherings of statisticians in the world, the Joint Statistical Meetings (JSM). Since 2007, Meeting within a Meeting (MWM), a statistics workshop for K-12 teachers, has been held in conjunction with the JSM. After 15 years, MWM now has two new program co-chairs—Hollylynne Lee, NC State College of Education Distinguished Professor of mathematics and statistics education and Friday Institute for Educational Innovation senior faculty fellow, and Gemma Mojica, a research scholar at the Friday Institute. Both are also co-directors of the Hub for Research and Innovation in Statistics Education (HI-RiSE) at the Friday Institute.
“Because serving teachers through high-quality professional learning is a major aspect of the mission of our work in HI-RiSE, we were thrilled that we could provide this service to teachers through MWM,” said Lee.
On Aug. 10 and 11, 2022, the MWM was held as a 10-hour online workshop for middle and high school teachers from across the country. About 70 teachers attended the free workshop themed “Igniting Statistics Learning Through Real-World Data Investigations.” The workshop was sponsored by the ASA and National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Joint Committee on K-12 Statistics Education.
The virtual event was the kickoff to learning and community building throughout the year.
The MWM program provides middle and high school mathematics and science teachers an opportunity to discuss and apply the data analysis, data science and statistical concepts embodied in the NCTM Catalyzing Change books and the ASA’s Guidelines for Assessment and Instruction in Statistics Education (GAISE) Pre-K–12 Curriculum Framework.
In September 2021, Anna Bargagliotti, the chair of the Joint Committee on K-12 Statistics Education, and Rebecca Nichols, K-16 education coordinator at the ASA, invited Lee and Mojica to serve as program chairs.
“We’re delighted to have Hollylynne and Gemma on board to organize the presentations as the workshop co-chairs,” said Nichols. “They have brought their expertise in K-12 statistics education and professional development to invite new presenters in a new online format. Participants have more choices of presentations focused on middle school, high school, Advanced Placement (AP) statistics, non-AP statistics and data science sessions by national experts in these areas.”
Lee and Mojica brought in a larger group of presenters than in previous years of the workshop to provide a more similar experience to attending a regular conference with both plenary and concurrent sessions.
“The highlight for me was engaging directly with teachers and seeing their excitement as they learned new approaches and tools for teaching statistics and their genuine enthusiasm for starting their new school year with ideas for improving students’ learning in their classrooms,” said Lee. “We hope educators take away strategies, new data tools, real world data sources and sample lesson plans they can use to kick-start the changes they want to make in their teaching.”
During the workshop, teachers learned in various sessions what students can be expected to do at the most basic level of data analysis understanding and what can be expected of them as their skills develop and experience broadens. They learned to use strategies and technology tools that support students’ learning and empower them to investigate questions using real-world data.
“The MWM workshop was a valuable experience,” said Tammy Lackey, K-8 mathematics consultant at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. “The workshop not only offered tools to use with students while making sense of data but allowed participants time to use the tools and discuss the data presented. This workshop gave me an opportunity to see how teachers can collaborate to make use of data across disciplines. It captured the importance of bringing real data and investigation in the classroom and across multiple subject areas.”
Workshop speakers stressed the key role teachers play in statistics education, which is a vital skill for students to make sense of the world around them.
“The preparation of our teachers and the background that you all need, and that we need in statistics and data science, has to include very explicit attention to equitable use of statistics and data and critical data literacy in our society,” said Trena Wilkerson, president of the NCTM and a professor of mathematics education at Baylor University, during the workshop. “It’s just becoming increasingly necessary that our students really understand data and are able to interpret it. They need to be able to make wise decisions, informed decisions, interpret data and really look at their world through mathematics and statistics.”
About the Friday Institute
The Friday Institute for Educational Innovation advances K-12 education through innovation in teaching, learning and leadership by bringing together students, teachers, researchers, policymakers and educational professionals to foster collaborations that improve education for all learners. The Friday Institute for Educational Innovation is part of NC State’s College of Education, one of the leading land-grant colleges of education in the nation.