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ERIC Number: EJ793971
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 6
ISSN: ISSN-1326-0286
The Role of Context in Students' Analysis of Data
Nisbet, Steven; Langrall, Cynthia; Mooney, Edward
Australian Primary Mathematics Classroom, v12 n1 p16-22 2007
The results of the study reported in this article found that primary-aged students used context knowledge in three broad ways: (1) to rationalise the data or their interpretations; (2) in taking a critical stance toward the data; and (3) in ways that were not necessarily productive or pertinent in addressing the task at hand. When teaching students how to analyse data, it is important to realise that data are numbers in context and that data engage one's knowledge of the context so that he/she can understand and interpret rather than simply carry out arithmetical operations. This study was informed by a number of theoretical considerations. First, Dapueto and Parenti's (1999) theoretical model describes the relationship between context and the formation of mathematical knowledge, and from that theory, the authors identified three relevant factors for this study: (1) the students' field of experience, or familiarity with the context of data being analyzed; (2) whether the data analysis or interpretation necessitates the use of certain statistical knowledge; and (3) the meaningful role statistics plays in understanding or interpreting the data. Second, the notion of shifting or the interplay between data and context has been described by a number of researchers. Third, Gal's (2004) model of statistical literacy describes the types of knowledge (literacy skills, statistical knowledge, mathematical knowledge, context knowledge, and critical questions) and dispositions (beliefs, attitudes, critical stance) that enable a person to comprehend, interpret, critically evaluate, and react to statistical messages. The tasks described in this study are open-ended problems and give a wide range of students the opportunity to respond at their respective levels. The use of such tasks may also reinforce, for students, a view of mathematics as a relevant, interesting, and motivating subject. (Contains 6 figures.)
Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers (AAMT). GPO Box 1729, Adelaide 5001, South Australia. Tel: +61-8-8363-0288; Fax: +61-8-8362-9288; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Primary Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia