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Data Analysis and Probability


Instructional programs from prekindergarten through grade 12 should enable all students to--
  • formulate questions that can be addressed with data and collect, organize, and display relevant data to answer them;
  • select and use appropriate statistical methods to analyze data;
  • develop and evaluate inferences and predictions that are based on data;
  • understand and apply basic concepts of probability.

To reason statistically--which is essential to be an informed citizen, employee, and consumer--students need to learn about data analysis and related aspects of probability.

The amount of statistical information available to help make decisions in business, politics, research, and everyday life is staggering. Consumer surveys guide the development and marketing of products. Experiments evaluate the safety and efficacy of new medical treatments. Statistics sway public opinion on issues and represent--or misrepresent--the quality and effectiveness of commercial products. Through experiences with the collection and analysis of data, students learn how to interpret such information.

Young children will not develop statistical reasoning if it is not included in the curriculum. Work in data analysis and probability offers a natural way for students to connect mathematics with other school subjects and with everyday experiences. Students in grades 9–12, for example, should understand the various purposes of surveys, observational studies, and experiments.

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