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ERIC Number: EJ847406
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-May
Pages: 28
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1570-1824
Exploring Students' Conceptions of the Standard Deviation
delMas, Robert; Liu, Yan
Statistics Education Research Journal, v4 n1 p55-82 May 2005
This study investigated introductory statistics students' conceptual understanding of the standard deviation. A computer environment was designed to promote students' ability to coordinate characteristics of variation of values about the mean with the size of the standard deviation as a measure of that variation. Twelve students participated in an interview divided into two primary phases, an exploration phase where students rearranged histogram bars to produce the largest and smallest standard deviation, and a testing phase where students compared the sizes of the standard deviation of two distributions. Analysis of data revealed conceptions and strategies that students used to construct their arrangements and make comparisons. In general, students moved from simple, one-dimensional understandings of the standard deviation that did not consider variation about the mean to more mean-centered conceptualizations that coordinated the effects of frequency (density) and deviation from the mean. Discussions of the results and implications for instruction and further research are presented. (Contains 6 tables and 13 figures.)
International Association for Statistics Education and the International Statistical Institute. PO Box 24070, 2490 AB The Hague, The Netherlands. Tel: +31-70-3375737; Fax: +31-70-3860025; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A