The Statistical Literacy Needed to Interpret School Assessment Data

Helen Chick, Robyn Pierce

Abstract


State-wide and national testing in areas such as literacy and numeracy produces reports containing graphs and tables illustrating school and individual performance. These are intended to inform teachers, principals, and education organisations about student and school outcomes, to guide change and improvement. Given the complexity of the information, it is of interest to determine the critical statistical skills required to make sense of such data. This paper examines the statistical literacy necessary to interpret the graphical presentations of school assessment data for the Australian NAPLAN testing process. A framework for professional statistical literacy that acknowledges the importance of context is used to identify different levels of data interpretation. The implications for helping users make better use of such data and for teacher education more broadly are discussed.


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