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ERIC Number: ED505963
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jul-18
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 9
What Do We Know about Students' Thinking and Reasoning about Variability in Data? Research Brief
Shaughnessy, Michael
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
Until recently, much of the research on students' understanding of statistical ideas has focused on their conceptions of center or on what constitutes a good sample. In the past decade research on students' statistical thinking has broadened and increasing interest has been paid to how students think about variability in data or variability in distributions of data. Among the questions that researchers have investigated in considering student thinking about variability are: (1) Do students acknowledge variability? If so, how do they describe it or talk about it? (2) Do they recognize potential sources of variability? (3) Are students' conceptions of variability influenced by context? (4) What are the different ways that students conceptualize variability? (5) Will they attempt to control aspects of an experiment to minimize variability? and (6) Are developmental trajectories found in students' understanding of variability? This Brief describes some of the studies that provide evidence for developmental trajectories in students' thinking about variability. (Contains 1 figure.) [This research brief is based on J. Michael Shaughnessy's chapter "Research on Statistics Learning and Reasoning" in Second Handbook of Research on Mathematics Teaching and Learning, edited by Frank K. Lester, Jr.]
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. 1906 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1502. Tel: 800-235-7566; Tel: 703-620-3702; Fax: 703-476-2970; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Reports - Research
Education Level: Middle Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics