Statistical Literacy:
the study of statistics
used in everyday life

2006 2006               01/25/14

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  • Who first used the phrase "statistical literacy"?

  • What new QR/QL textbooks were released in 2005-06?

  • Who asked "What can go wrong with QL programs?" and provided answers with with real examples?

  • Who claimed that 'statistical illiteracy' is "a consequence of the different visions about statistics"?

  • What statistical group gave their definition of "statistical literacy"?

  • Who said "the purpose of statistical literacy at school" is to prepare graduates "to participate in social decision making"?

  • Who made 'statistical literacy' a #1 goal of statistics education?

  • Who said, "QL-friendly courses will likely replace courses such as college algebra that are now being used ineffectively as general education courses"?  In what context was it said?

  • What college agreed with its math department to drop algebra from the list of math courses that students can use to fulfill their numeracy requirements for general studies?

  • Who asserted that "the inherent ambiguity" of 'statistical literacy', 'statistical reasoning' and 'statistical thinking' "makes them unsuitable as learning goals for statistics education"?

  • Who analyzed 229 percentage graphs in USA Today online?

  • In what group did 52% "strongly agree" that "describing & comparing percentages in tables & graphs is valuable for citizens"?


I didn't really realize how important statistical literacy is until I took this course. Even though I really don't like math, I may consider another statistics course just to get full understanding and better skilled.”  Capella student comment in Isaacson's 2006 ASA slides

"Statistical literacy is the meeting of the data and chance curriculum and the everyday world."  The purpose of statistical literacy at school is to prepare graduates "to participate in social decision making."  Jane Watson Statistical Literacy at School

"The Mathematics and Statistics Department at Arizona State University has removed college algebra from the list of courses students can use to fulfill their numeracy requirements for general studies.  The department has taken this action as it believes students requiring only one mathematics course in their college experience should be introduced to mathematics that is more applied in nature.  We further believe any student taking college algebra should have every intention of taking another mathematics course." Isom, 2004 MAA SW News

"College and university mathematics will need to change pedagogical approaches if it is to successfully lead QL education. If it does not, then I believe QL is a major threat to collegiate mathematics because QL-friendly courses will likely replace courses such as college algebra that are now being used ineffectively as general education courses, and a major fraction of collegiate mathematics enrollments is in college algebra and other algebra courses."  Madison's  2006 ASA paper


Statistical Literacy Textbook (1979)

This 1979 textbook described statistical literacy as the ability to read and interpret data.  "Rather than designing an experiment and collecting and analyzing the data, students are more likely to read the results of an experiment and need to interpret those results."  Read the preface and the table of contents.  

Dennis Haack: #1 in Statistical Literacy

The phrase 'statistical literacy" was the title of his 1979 textbook.   This is a very early use of 'statistical literacy' in statistical education.   See Haack's 1979 and 1980 articles in Teaching Statistics.  Investigate his background with the NCTE Doublespeak Award.  Note his focus on treating statistics as a language. 


Statistical Literacy at School: Growth & Goals by Jane Watson

'Statistical literacy' is used "to emphasize that the purpose of the school curriculum ... is to prepare statistically literate graduates who are prepared to participate in social decision making."  "Every one needs to be able to question statistical claims." "Statistical literacy is the meeting of the data and chance curriculum and the everyday world." 

Reading Educational Research by Gerald Bracey

Bracey hopes this book will "make non-researchers wiser consumers of the statistics and data they find not only in research articles, but, especially, in op-ed pieces and commission reports... "  See Bracey's 32 principles of data interpretation.  A must-read for all those interested in statistical literacy.

Current Practices in QL Programs, Richard Gillman, Editor

Summarizes the mathematical skills necessary to be quantitatively literate.  Presents reviews of  seven stand-alone Q/L courses and 11 interdisciplinary and inter-departmental programs.  Includes historical reviews and essays on assessment.  Excellent survey articles by Susan Ganter and William Briggs.  more

The Chicago Guide to Writing on Multivariate Analysis by Jane Miller

 Jane Miller has a second great book on the effective presentation of quantitative information involving multivariate analysis.  Presents key principles, useful tools and varied applications. "This is a terrific book..."  James Trussell, Princeton. Reviewed in The American Statistician 2006, vol. 60, no. 2, pp. 203 - 204.

Statistical Evidence (paper)

Statistical Evidence in Medical Trials: Mountain or Molehill, What Do the Data Really Tell Us? by Stephen Simon]. Ch 1: Apples or Oranges: The Selection of the Control Group.  Ch 2. What was Left Out: Exclusions, Refusals and Dropouts.  Ch 3. Mountains or Molehills: The Clinical Importance of the Results.  Ch 4. What Do the Other Witnesses Say: Importance of Corroborating Evidence. 

Ch 5. Do the Pieces Fit Together?  Systematic Overviews and Meta-Analyses. Ch 6. What do all these numbers mean?  Ch 7. Where is all the evidence. 2012 Review  Website.  This book "addresses common pitfalls in evaluating medical research.  Including ... a non-technical account of how to appraise the quality of evidence presented in these publications, this book is ideal for health-care professionals, students in medical or nursing schools, researchers and students in statistics, and anyone needing to assess the evidence published in medical journals."  "Revolutionary" -- "a statistics book without numbers."


What the Numbers Say

"Field Guide to Mastering Numbers" by Derrick Niederman and David Boyum. "This duo continues the noble cause of dispelling math phobia, especially its application in the vital life-skills department.  all people need to be fluent in two languages–words and numbers.  Yet our schools do not teach and our students do not learn how to be quantitatively literate.  This book demonstrates what traditionally is not taught." Interview.

Literacy & Math: Contemporary QL

Jay Abramson and Mathew Isom (Arizona State) use this in a first year math course.   Goal: "to enhance students level of quantitative literacy and understanding numeracy in context. Development of the students ability to use the words from mathematics in context to form an argument was an essential skill."  Abstract of talk2006 syllabus 

Quantitative Reasoning and the Environment

by Greg Langkamp and Joseph Hull (2006).  Analyzes "real environmental information and problems, using mathematics accessible to students with an intermediate algebra background."  Topics: "basic numeracy, function modeling,  difference equation modeling and elementary statistics."

QR: Tools for Today's Informed Citizen

By Alicia Sevilla and Kay Somers (Moravian College). Helps students apply mathematical reasoning in daily life. Topics: Numerical Reasoning (functions, models, logs, indexes), Logical Reasoning (Decision making, inductive,, deductive) and Statistical Reasoning (conditional probability, tables). 


"How To Lie With Statistics" Turns 50 

Statist. Sci. Vol. 20, Num. 3 (2005): Darrell Huff and Fifty Years of How to Lie with Statistics by Steele.  Lies, Calculations & Constructions: Beyond How to Lie with Statistics by Joel Best.  Lying with Maps by Monmonier. How to Confuse with Statistics: The Use and Misuse of Conditional Probabilities by Krämer & Gigerenzer. How to Lie with Bad Data by De Veaux & Hand. How to Accuse the Other Guy of Lying with Statistics by Charles Murray.  Ephedra by Sally Morton. In Search of the Magic Lasso: The Truth About the Polygraph by Fienberg & Stern.

Exploring Simpson's Paradox

By Larry Lesser (UTEP, Texas). An excellent review of Simpson's Paradox: a key issue in Statistical Literacy.  This chapter in the 2001 NCTM yearbook is now web available.  Readers can reflect on the "relative strengths and weaknesses of various representations"   Presents a trapezoidal technique illustrating Simpson's Paradox after taking into account the influence of a binary confounder.

"Beware the Lurking Variable" 

The fall 2006 issue of STATS magazine featured this article by Milo Schield (W. M. Keck Statistical Literacy Project) with the subtitle, "Understanding Confounding from Lurking Variables Using Graphs."   This essay presents a new graphical technique that allows students to calculate the effect of a binary confounder on an association.

What Math should all college students know

This article by William Briggs helps set the context for Quantitative Literacy in the MAA's Current Practices in Q/L.  He notes the "algebra dilemma" in designing a successful liberal arts mathematics course and argues that "less could be better."  He argues that we should "avoid doing algebra when there is no ulterior purpose and let the applications determine the necessary mathematics."   He notes that "the development of effective mathematics courses for liberal arts students is happening, albeit on a slow time scale."

Public Understanding of Statistics?

Do we need a public understanding of statistics?  by Fabienne Crettaz von Roten (University of Lausanne, Switzerland).   She noted that Shen (1975) divided science literacy into three categories: practical [problem-solving] scientific literacy, civic scientific literacy, and cultural [appreciative] scientific literacy.  Public Understanding of Science 2006 15: 243.

Struck by Lightning 11/12

Struck by Lightning: The Curious World of Probabilities by Jeffrey S. Rosenthal, Univ. Toronto. "deconstructs the odds and oddities of chance, examining both the relevant and irreverent role of randomness in our everyday lives."



Quantitative Inquiry, Reasoning & Knowledge

Carleton proposed QUIRK "To Strengthen the Educational Foundations of Citizenship" saying, "students avoid quantitative reasoning (QR)" and "frequently do not transfer [QR] skills; the College’s curriculum currently lacks sufficient coordination in cultivating QR skills; faculty seek basic and broader training in QR; and faculty seek a rich means of assessing student learning of QR."  Carleton's proposal: "to use writing portfolios to assess and guide QR curriculum reform."

QUIRK Workshop @  Carleton

In the fall 2006 QUIRK workshop, Neil Lutsky (right) proposed "Ten Questions to Ask about Numbers." Corri Taylor (left), president of the National Numeracy Network, reviewed "QR across the Liberal Arts disciplines at Wellesley." See also Spring 2006 workshop.

Teaching Quantitative Reasoning

In his APA article, Neil Lutsky (QUIRK Director) gave four reasons why psychology is well-suited to contribute to undergraduate education in quantitative reasoning.  He argues that "psychologists can appreciate the educational rationale for QR across the curriculum" if students "are to develop and strengthen generalized QR cognitive tendencies." 

Analysis of QR in Student Writing

In his ASA paper analyzing 200 student writing portfolios, Neil Lutsky (QUIRK Director) found that QR was central in a third (peripheral in about a third) and that QR reasoning was used in two-thirds of the former (about a tenth of the latter). Criteria for usage included, "Takes advantage of opportunities to test claims empirically; Interprets data in light of questions under consideration; Presents the analysis of data and interpretation of results effectively; and Assesses the limitations of the methods employed to the task or assignment."


Developing a QL Program

Judy Moran (Trinity) asked an important question: What can go wrong with QL programs?  Her answers: "money runs out; the program is too expensive to be continued by the home institution.  Colleagues do not support (or hatchet) program. School administration changes, and changes, and changes, and changes.  Program depends on a few individuals who become exhausted and burned out."

QR Courses at Colleges

Maura Mast presented "Q/R Requirement at the Univ. of Massachusetts Boston."  Kimberly M. Vincent and Beth Buyserie, Washington State Univ. presented "Learning to Make Inferences: Connecting Q/L and Language Arts for Math and English Preservice Teachers." Bernie Madison (Univ. of Arkansas) presented Math News.  Schield (Augsburg College) presented "Mathematics of Association".

2005 MAA Quantitative Literacy Workshop

Teach  with General Social Survey

Stephen Sweet (left, Ithaca College) presented Teaching Data Structures and Relationships Using General Social Surveys. Jack Bookman (Duke Univ.) presented Lessons Learned About Assessing Quantitative LiteracyJudy Moran (Trinity)  reviewed Trinity's QL program.  Bernie Madison (NNN President) presented slides and a detailed syllabus on News Math.   

QR in Arts/Humanities@Hollins

Caren Diefenderfer (right) presented Hollins' Q/R goal: "to understand mathematical and statistical reasoning" and "use appropriate mathematical and/or statistical tools in summarizing data, making predictions and establishing cause-and-effect relationships."  Len Vacher & Beth Fratesi (Univ S. Florida) presented Developing the Q/L Habit of Mind.



GAISE Guidelines for College

Under Joan Garfield (chair), the GAISE college group concluded, "We should teach students that the practical operation of statistics is to collect and analyze data to answer questions."  "The desired result of all introductory statistics courses is to produce statistically educated students which means that students should develop statistical literacy and the ability to think statistically."

     The GAISE College report recommended that "introductory courses in statistics should, as much as possible, strive to: 1) emphasize statistical literacy and develop statistical thinking, 2) use real data, 3) stress conceptual understanding rather than mere knowledge of procedures, 4) foster active learning in the classroom, 5) use technology for developing conceptual understanding and analyzing data, and 6) integrate assessments that are aligned with course goals to improve as well as evaluate student learning."

GAISE Guidelines for PreK-12

Under Chris Franklin, the GAISE PreK-12 Group prepared Guidelines for Assessment and Instruction in Statistics Education (GAISE).  "The Ultimate Goal: Statistical Literacy."  Offered a three-level framework for each step in a statistical study (Formulate Question, Collect Data, Analyze Data and Interpret Results) and for understanding  variability.  Many examples.

The GAISE PreK-12 report, "the ultimate goal: statistical Literacy."  A statistically literate high school graduate will know how to interpret the data in the morning newspaper and will ask the right questions about statistical claims. 

The GAISE PreK-12 report gave these reasons:  1) Statistical literacy is required for daily personal choices, 2) An investment in statistical literacy is an investment in our nation’s economic future as well as the well-being of individuals, and 3) Statistical literacy is essential in our personal lives as consumers, citizens and professionals.

GAISE Definition of Statistical Literacy

The GAISE College report stated, "We define statistical literacy as understanding the basic language of statistics (e.g., knowing what statistical terms and symbols mean and being able to read statistical graphs), and understanding some fundamental ideas of statistics."   This report noted that, "students should develop statistical literacy and the ability to think statistically."    The college report suggests assessing statistical literacy by students "interpreting or critiquing articles in the news and graphs in media."

GAISE College Distinguishes Courses

"Some people teach courses that are heavily slanted toward teaching students to become statistically literate and wise consumers of data; this is somewhat similar to an art appreciation course.  Some teach courses more heavily slanted toward teaching students to become producers of statistical analyses; this is analogous to the studio art course.  Most courses are a blend of consumer and producer components, but the balance of that mix will determine the importance of each recommendation." 


(Brazil) 7/2006

Statistical Literacy in Mid Schools

Jane Watson (Univ. of Tasmania) used her 1997 three-tier classification (concepts, context and arguments) to establish a base and measure change.  Results: middle-schoolers had poorly developed skills and effect size changes were modest.  Conclusion: "broadly based educational goals..., may provide contexts for using statistical literacy skills across the curriculum."

Assessing Statistical Literacy

Rosemary Callingham (U. New England, Au) presented "Assessing Statistical Literacy: A Question of Interpretation."  Reviews the Watson-Callingham construct of statistical literacy, reviews Rasch measurement and applies both to school data. Result: Statistical Literacy is an independent construct, and alternate forms of assessment are appropriate.

Media for Statistical Literacy

 Lynda Merriman (Baradene College, NZ) presented "Using Media Reports to Develop Statistical Literacy in Year 10 Students." "no correlation between mathematical ability and students’ performance", "positive correlation between English ability and statistical literacy."  View Pre-test and Post-test. Focus on lurking variables (alternate explanations).

Straw polls: Response Rates

Warren Palmer (right) and Anthony Crawford (University of Otago, NZ) reviewed "Some Current Statistical Reporting by Journalists in New Zealand."  Items seldom published include response rates (14% in the US today) and margins of error for small subgroups.  They concluded that the uncommitted vote was poorly handled and journalists need to be taught to do a better job.

Evidential Reasoning: Assessment & Curriculum

Jim Ridgway (left) and James Nicholson (right) presented  challenges in using multivariate data as evidence in schools.  See also Reasoning with Data -- Time for a Rethink? in Teaching Statistics.

News-Based Learning & Statistics

Philip Yu, (left) and Wing K Fung (Hong Kong University). "Almost every day we come across statistics in our newspapers. These statistics have been used in ... a general education course offered to undergraduate students ... without a statistics background. Students find the topics interesting and appreciate the wide-ranging applications of statistics in different areas.

Main Reason: Statistical Illiteracy

Carlos Araújo (Pontificate, Chile) presented "Statistical Illiteracy...: A consequence of the different visions about statistics." He reviewed various definitions of statistics and asserted that statisticians' lack of interest in defining Statistics "is the main reason for the inefficacy in the efforts made ... to install or to improve statistical education in the region." 

Student Attitudes Worsen Slightly

Rebecca Pierce (Indiana) presented "SATS at Ball State Univ.: Approaches and Attitudes." Results were presented from pre and post SATS scores.  VALUE had a small negative change.  Several studies have found that students see less value in statistics after taking an intro course than they did before.  Schau's paper  reviews the instrument and earlier results.

Literacy, Reasoning & Thinking 

Nick Broers (Netherlands) presented Learning Goals: The Primacy of Statistical Knowledge. After reviewing three closely-related concepts (statistical literacy, reasoning and thinking) he noted that "their existence is not dictated by empirical observations."  "the inherent ambiguity of the three concepts makes them unsuitable as learning goals for statistics education." 

Attitudes Improve: "Taster" Stats

Patrick Murphy (University College, Ireland) presented, "A Non-Standard Approach to Teaching an Introductory Statistics Course...."  Student response shifted from 82% negative to uniformly positive.  Conclusion: "We believe that a “taster” course ... which ... concentrates on principles and critical thinking should act as a precursor to the new data-driven Introductory Statistics course."

Assess Statistical Reasoning

Bob delMas (left), Ann Ooms, Joan Garfield (U. Minnesota) and Beth Chance (Cal. Polytechnic)  described the NSF-funded ARTIST project, a project designed "to help teachers assess statistical literacy, statistical reasoning, and statistical thinking in first courses of statistics."  ARTIST stands for "Assessment Resource Tools for Improving Statistical Thinking." ARTIST

Promoting Statistical Literacy

 Giovanni Barbieri (right) & Paola Giacché IStat Italy. "we see statistical numeracy as a tool for democracy, as a skill that should be in the cultural baggage of every good citizen. If literacy is the capability of expressing oneself and understanding, statistical numeracy is the ability to understand, appreciate & use simple symbolical expressions (numbers & charts)."

Understanding Replication

Goef Cumming (LaTrobe University) presented a paper relating repeatability (replication) to statistical confidence and statistical significance.  He noted that a given 95% confidence interval can be expected to capture the means of 86% of all future random samples.  This paper may give educators new options in presenting statistical inference.

Drop P-value; Teach Confidence

Fiona Fidler (LaTrobe Univ./Univ Melbourne) asked "Should Psychology abandon p-values and teach CIs instead?." She traced the history of null-hypothesis significance tests (NHST) in medicine, ecology and psychology. She noted NHSTs are no longer used in the journal, Epidemiology.  See her ICOTS-6 paper "The Reeducation of Psychology."

Conditional Probability Assessment

Carmen Díaz (left) and Inmaculada de la Fuente (Univ. of Grenada) presented "Assessing Psychology Students' Difficulties with Conditional Probability and Bayesian Reasoning."  They created a survey assessment to measure understanding of 6 key concepts and 12 related procedures.   Psychology students' error rates ranged from 7% to 80%. 

Media Studies and Statistics

Fred Zandpour (right) and Tony Rimmer (California State Fullerton, US) presented "Media Studies and Statistics: Real-World Demands, Classroom Quandaries and On-Line Solutions"   "the classroom training in statistical thinking that we offer our students is not currently responding to the challenges coming at us from the real-world media where we hope to place these students."

Teaching Stats in a Critical Way

Karen Francois and Nele Bracke presented Teaching Statistics in a Critical Way: Historical, Philosophical and Political Aspects of Statistics.  "A second link between politics and statistics is (scientific-)philosophical in nature. Political refers to the fact that the making of a choice is socially relevant. In this sense, politics forms part of scientific activity."

Statistical Literacy Survey Analysis

Milo Schield (Augsburg College) presented results of the 2002 W. M. Keck Statistical Literacy survey: high error rates.  In a 100% row table, 44% of students misread a description of a percentage. In a pie chart, 53% of professionals misread a comparison of two slices. In reading an X-Y plot, 81% of college teachers misread a "times more than" comparison. SlidesDetails.



Developing a Framework for Q/L

Wendy Watkins (Carleton, Canada) noted, "A problem in developing a QL program ... is that it lacks a disciplinary home. This paper examines the processes by which these programs become mainstream, and recommend approaches to develop a QL framework using best practices." Wendy presented "Introducing Data into Canadian Academic Libraries" at ICOTS.

Stat-Lit Learning Object: An Intro

At IASSIST 2006, Milo Schield introduced an expanded version of the web-based drill program that evaluates users'  ordinary English descriptions and comparisons of rates and percentages in a half-day workshop. ScheduleFeedback.  Milo also presented the  results of the 2002 W. M. Keck Statistical Literacy Survey Results: Reading Graphs and Tables of Rates and Percentages.

Numeracy International

Statistical Educators & QL

Improve Stat Lit in AU Schools

Dennis Trewin  "We live in the information age. Statistical thinking is a life skill that all Australian children should have."  SSAI and ABS are working "to ensure Australian school children acquire a sufficient understanding and appreciation of how data can be used so they can make informed judgements in their daily lives."  Internat. Statist. Rev. 73, #2 (2005) 

Statistical Educators in QL Movement

Beth Haines (left) and Jay Jordan (right), Lawrence U. "statistics educators can and should assist the QL cause." Students didn't see stats increasing [their] interest.

  2006 ASA JSM: Statistical

 & Quantitative Literacy

Pedagogical Challenges of QL

Bernie Madison, President of NNN, presented three guidelines: "materials must be authentic," "fresh," and more "engaging."  He predicted that if mathematics does not lead QL, then QL will be "a major threat to collegiate mathematics because QL-friendly courses will likely replace courses such as college algebra." Slides: 6upSlides and syllabus for "News Math"

Percentage Charts in USA Today

Milo Schield (Augsburg College) reviewed  graphs in USA Today Snapshots online.  Of the 229 graphs studied, ~70% are bar graphs.  Of these bar graphs, ~30% are 100% graphs while ~10% have bars that are wholes.   Rules are presented to identify if the bars are wholes.  Includes recommendations.  [This paper ranked 2nd in 170 presented.]  6up

Increasing QL through MACCC

Rebecca Hartzler (Seattle CC) and Kim Rheinlander (Dartmouth) presented slides on "Increasing QL through MACCC."

Student Misconceptions about Stat Lit

by Marc Isaacson (Augsburg College). Student comment: “I have to admit, that I took this course to fulfill the math credits I need. I didn't really realize how important statistical literacy is until I took this course. Even though I really don't like math, I may consider another statistics course just to get full understanding and better skilled.”

2005 US Conference On Teaching Statistics (USCOTS)

Why is Intro Stat complicated?

In her plenary talk, Roxy Peck (Cal Poly) characterized students in Intro Statistics as 'spectators,' 'referees' and 'players.'  Spectators are those interested and excited: who enjoy “watching”   In a statistics-appreciation type course, students should appreciate the “beauty of statistics” or at least their usefulness. 1up

Statistics for all

Ann Watkins (left) and Dick Scheaffer (right) gave a plenary talk. Ann found that 49% of statistical educators said we should teach concepts of inference -- not [statistical] tests. Dick Scheaffer noted "the need for statistical thinkers"

General Numeracy

Chance goes WIKI

The Chance Project has been housed at Dartmouth under the leadership of J. Laurie Snell (right).  Chance News reviews articles in the news that use probability or statistical concepts.  It is aimed at helping the general public better understand current chance news and assisting teachers ... who want to liven up their courses by using current chance news.  To make contributions easier, Chance News is now available at ChanceWiki.

ETS new Computerized Literacy Tests

PDQ refers to Prose, Document, and Quantitative literacy proficiency scales.  "Prose literacy measures how well individuals understand and use information found in newspapers." "Document literacy assesses how well a person understands information in forms, schedules, charts and graphs, and tables. Quantitative literacy involves reading...materials associated with Prose and Document literacy, but differs in that the individual needs to identify the appropriate information and perform... arithmetic operations."

Quantitative & Economic Literacy 

Student quantitative literacy: Importance, Measurement and Correlation with Economic Literacy by Schuhmann, McGoldrick and Burrus (3/22/2005),.  "For students lacking a basic level of quantitative literacy, interpretation of economic concepts can be lost in the translation."  "This lack of attention to students' quantitative literacy might contribute to lower degrees of economic literacy."

Social Mathematics in US Civics Curriculum

In his dissertation, James W. Mauch says "a basic understanding of mathematics and statistics, as well as a knowledge of how numbers and statistics can be used and abused... are important components of a twenty-first century American education.  This understanding is critical for the survival and success of the individual and our representative democracy." Extract.

CUNY QL Proficiency Exam 

Task: Analyzing and Integrating Material from Graphs and Text:  "You will be given materials (two charts or graphs and a brief reading passage) on the same or similar topics. You will be asked to identify and state accurately the claims in the reading selection and to explain the relationship between these  claims and the relevant data in the figures with accuracy, clarity and completeness."

Math across Community College Curriculum

Led by Gilliland, Hartzler, Leoni, Collins and  Bibby.  "The goal is to create a mathematically literate society that ensures a workforce equipped to compete in a technologically advanced global economy. This will be accomplished by training math and non-math faculty across the disciplines to create, evaluate and modify projects that incorporate mathematics." See AMATYC News.  [ NSF DUE -0442439]

National Survey of America's College Students

Press Release

Fact Sheet: "The survey measured abilities related to three types of skills: prose, document and quantitative literacy. Quantitative literacy involves the ability to perform computations – including balancing a checkbook, calculating a tip, or completing an order form."

Final Report

"Students in 2- and 4-year colleges have the most difficulty with quantitative literacy: approximately 30 percent of students in 2-year institutions and nearly 20 percent of students in 4-year institutions have only Basic quantitative literacy."  Appendices   Q/L graphs (zip)


Top 30 Downloads from in 2006
Number in parenthesis is the number of reader "download" in 2006.
  1. Three Paradoxes, Howard Wainer, Nat. Board of Medical Examiners. Draft for The American Statistician 2004 (1,338)

  2. Exploring Simpson's Paradox, by Larry Lesser NCTM 2001 (941)

  3. Online Program for Decoding Ordinary English Descriptions and Comparisons of Percentages & Rates Burnham & Schield 2005 ASA (860)

  4. Statistical Literacy: An Online Course at Capella University  Marc Isaacson (Augsburg College) 2005 ASA (854)

  5. Statistics for Political Science Majors  Gary Klass (Illinois State University) 2004 ASA (786)

  6. Statistical Literacy Survey Results, Schield 2006 IASSIST (694)

  7. Frequency of Simpson's Paradox in NAEP Data, Terwilliger & Schield, 2004 AERA (688)

  8. Statistical Literacy and Chance, Milo Schield 2005 ASA (657)

  9. Statistical Literacy Survey Analysis, Schield 2006 ICOTS 6up (521)

  10. People Count: The Social Construction of Statistics  Joel Best 2002 Augsburg College (460)

  11. Percentage Tables in USA Today Online, Schield 2006 ASA (445)

  12. Quantity Words Without Numbers: Why Students use "Many", Schield 2005 Carleton (436)

  13. People Count: The Social Construction of Statistics, Joel Best 2002 ASA (433)

  14. Statistical Literacy: An Evangelical Calling for Statistical Educators, Milo Schield, 2005 ISI (429)

  15. Some Difficulties Learning Histograms, by Carl Lee & Maria Meletiou-Mavrotheris ASA 2003 (409)

  16. Introduction to an Online Ratio Statement Validator, Burnham & Schield, 2006 IASSIST (311)

  1. Why Should We Even Teach Statistics? A Bayesian Perspective Gudmund Iversen, 2000 Tokyo Round Table (298)

  2. Statistical Literacy and Evidential Statistics, 1998 ASA (241)

  3. Practical Applications of Benford's Law for Integer Quantities  by Dean Brooks, 2002 ASA (237)

  4. Epidemiology for Teaching Statistics Chris Olsen 2005 ASA (235)

  5. Statistical Literacy Curriculum Design, Milo Schield 2004 IASE Curriculum Roundtable, Lund Sweden (209)

  6. Presenting Confounding Graphically Using Standardization, Milo Schield 2006 Draft for STATS magazine (204)

  7. Confounders as Mathematical Objects, Schield and Burnham (Draft) 2006 MAA.  Slides 6up (200)

  8. What Can 'CSI' Teach Us about Statistical Literacy  Jane Miller 2005 ASA (192)

  9. Important Math Concepts for Numeracy Bernie Madison 2005 MAA (179)

  10. Student Attitudes: The Other Important Outcome in Statistical Education, Candace Schau ASA JSM 2003 (171)

  11. Three Graphs To Promote Statistical Literacy  Milo Schield 2004 ICME-10 (160)

  12. Statistical Literacy: Describing and Comparing Rates and Percentages Milo Schield 2000 ASA (137)

  13. Schield "Statistical Literacy" textbook: Introduction, 2005 (124)

  14. Planning a Statistical Literacy Course, Robert Hayden 2004 ASA (120)


Top Web Pages Viewed at in 2006.
Number in parenthesis is the total number of reader "views" in 2006.
  1. StatLit 2005 (11,617):  Stat-Lit related news items from 2005.

  2. StatLit Papers (2,019): List of over 200 web-accessible Stat-Lit related papers.

  3. StatLit Survey (1,814): Take surveys on Statistical Literacy.

  4. StatLit Books (1,710): List of over 300 Stat-Lit related books.

  5. Q/L Textbooks (1,558): Details on 7 Q/L-related textbooks.

Note that the top site page, Program Introduction and Operating Instructions, has over 20,000 hits.  This page is not listed because using this program is required for students in Statistical Literacy.

  1. Joel Best (1,280): Details on Best's two Stat-Lit related books.

  2. Standardizing (1,232): Excel graph illustrates standardizing.

  3. Q/L Activities (1,044): Details on Q/L-related activities.

  4. Q/L Books (1,016):  Details on 7 Q/L-related books.

  5. StatLit 2004 (845): Stat-Lit related news items from 2004.

  6. Links (810): Links to Stat-Lit related web sites.

  7. StatLit 2003 (741): Stat-Lit related news items from 2003.

The "top 12 pages" may be misleading, since there are only 20 such pages currently available on this site.  By comparison there are over 200 articles in PDF form available from this site.

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