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Supporting statistical literacy: What do culturally relevant/realistic tasks show us about the nature of pupil engagement with statistics?

Carvalho, Carolina and Solomon, Yvette (2012) Supporting statistical literacy: What do culturally relevant/realistic tasks show us about the nature of pupil engagement with statistics? ISSN 08830355

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Abstract

The Portuguese curriculum has recently moved away from a focus on individual subject disciplines towards the development of cross-disciplinary competencies for civic life, including the development of statistical literacy in application to everyday problems. Students are encouraged to draw on their own interests to collect and organize data sets in support of intra- and inter-disciplinary problem solving, reasoning and communication. In this paper we investigate this conception of the development of statistical literacy and its relation to ‘real life’ by exploring the talk of three pairs of working-class Portuguese students engaged in a task that was considered to be culturally relevant and realistic, and hence supportive of the development of civic competencies. We analyse what the nature of their talk indicates about the role of identities and dispositions in the way they approach statistics and their application in the real world. We suggest that differences between how each pair of students engages with the tasks illustrate the importance of individual experience and identity in accessing important statistical literacy.

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