NCTM Data Analysis and Probability Standard

The NCTM Principles and Standards for School Mathematics document states that "Prior to the middle grades, students should have had experiences collecting, organizing, and representing sets of data. They should be facile both with representational tools (such as tables, line plots, bar graphs, and line graphs) and with measures of center and spread (such as median, mode, and range). They should have had experience in using some methods of analyzing information and answering questions, typically about a single population" (NCTM, 2000, p. 249).

The NCTM document further states that middle grades students should be challenged 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" (NCTM, 2000, pp. 249-250).

The resources highlighted in Data Analysis: As Real World as it Gets can be used to facilitate student activities focused on designing experiments and collecting data in the context of important issues and concerns. The Data Analysis and Probability standard calls for students to learn to select and apply statistical ideas such as mean, medium, and mode to analyze data and for students to have experience with making and evaluating inferences and predictions based on data. As students formulate questions, analyze data, and make predictions using the highlighted resources, teachers will also find excellent opportunities to incorporate ideas from the Connections, Problem Solving, and Communication standards. Two other valuable resources from NCTM related to standards-based teaching include the book, Navigating Through Data Analysis in Grades 6-8, and the Illuminations web site featuring teaching materials and interactive activities.

We hope the contextual approach to teaching the topics found in the Data Analysis and Probability standard will help students build mathematics knowledge that is perceived as useful and connected to life.

Author and Copyright

Judy Spicer is the mathematics education resource specialist for digital library projects at Ohio State University. She has taught mathematics in grades 9-14.

Please email any comments to msp@msteacher.org.

Connect with colleagues at our social network for middle school math and science teachers at http://msteacher2.org .

Copyright June 2005 - The Ohio State University. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0424671 and since September 1, 2009 Grant No. 0840824. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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