The development of statistical understanding at the elementary school level
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AbstractThe massive increase in infonnation and data available in the 21stcentury is putting increasing pressure on school curricula around the world to preparestudents to meet the demands of using the information and data for the good of society.Finding the place in an already crowded curriculum for the technological andstatistical literacy skills is not easy. The needs are present across the curriculum butthus far statistical thinking has usually been placed within the mathematics curriculumunder such headings as "data and chance" or "data handling. " Various suggestionshave been made concerning what content should be introduced at different year levels.This paper does not make specific suggestions for students at different years of schoolor ages because of differences acrOss countries but presents a developmental picture ofstatistical understanding from early childhood across the elementary into the middleschool years. Knowing where a child currently is in the developmental sequences canindicate what activities can assist movement to higher levels. of understanding. It ishoped that greater appreciation of the potential for developing statistical understandingwill influence curriculum developers to find a place, integrated across the traditionaldisciplines, to build the foundations required for critical statistical literacy in the adultworld.