Guidelines for Statistics Education

The American Statistical Association (ASA) funded the Guidelines for Assessment and Instruction in Statistics Education (GAISE) Project, which consists of two groups, one focused on K-12 education and one focused on introductory college courses. The report in the link below presents the recommendations developed by the college group. The report includes a brief history of the introductory college course and summarizes the 1992 report by George Cobb that since that time has been considered to be a generally accepted set of recommendations for teaching these courses.

The six recommendations are:

  1. 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
  6. Use assessments to improve and evaluate student learning

The report concludes with suggestions for how to make these changes, and includes numerous examples in the appendix to illustrate details of the recommendations.

The Undergraduate Statistics Education Initiative (USEI) encourages math programs to “explore ways to expand and improve undergraduate statistics education” with proposals and recommendations for programs beyond the teaching of introductory statistics,Undergraduate Statistics Education Initiative (USEI), in 1999 a committee funded by ASA met to "Promote Undergraduate Statistics to Improve the Workforce of the Future". This initiative has led to multiple workshops and symposiums.

The 2004 CUPM Guide recommends that “every mathematical science major should study statistics or probability with an emphasis on data analysis”.

CUPM Curriculum Guide 2004, a report by the Committee on the Undergraduate Program in Mathematics of The Mathematical Association of America.

CRAFTY Workshop in Statistics

The Curricular Foundations Workshop in Statistics, a Curriculum Reform and the First Two Years (CRAFTY) workshop on Statistics, stated:

  • The 1991 CUPM recommendation that every mathematical sciences major should study statistics or probability with an emphasis on data analysis has been almost universally ignored.
  • There are even more compelling reasons for the recommendation today than there were 10 years ago:
    1. Data analysis plays a crucial role in many aspects of academic, professional, and personal life.
    2. The job market for mathematics majors is largely in fields that use data.
    3. Future teachers will need knowledge of statistics and data analysis to be current with the new NCTM Standards and with the new and highly popular AP Statistics course.
    4. The study of statistics provides an opportunity for students to gain frequent experience with the interplay between abstraction and context that we regard as critical for all mathematical sciences students.

Moore, T., Peck, R., and Rossman, A. (2000), “Calculus Reform and the First Two Years (CRAFTY).”


The Bio2010 committee recommended that:

  • Concepts, examples, and techniques from mathematics and the physical and information sciences should be included in biology courses and biological concepts and examples should be included in other science courses.
  • Faculty in biology, mathematics, and physical sciences must work collaboratively to find ways of integrating mathematics and physical sciences into life science courses as well as providing avenues for incorporating life science examples that reflect the emerging nature of the discipline into courses taught in mathematics and physical sciences.

BIO2010: Transforming Undergraduate Education for Future Research Biologists. (2003), “A New Biology Curriculum.” National Academies Press, Chapter 2, pp. 47-48.



My Favorite Articles about Statistics Education:

  1. Bryce, Gould, Notz, and Peck, “Curriculum Guidelines for Bachelor of Science Degrees in Statistical Science,” American Statistician, Feb. 2001, (55) No. 1, page 9.
  2. Cobb, G. (1992), “Teaching Statistics”, in L.A. Steen (ed.) Heeding the Call for Change: Suggestions for Curricular Action, Mathematical Association of America, The committee’s report was unanimously endorsed by the Board of Directors of the American Statistical Association.
  3. Cobb, G. (1993), ‘Reconsidering Statistics Education: A National Science Foundation Conference’, Journal of Statistics Education 1(1)
  4. delMas, R., Garfield, J., and Chance, B., “Tools for Teaching and Assessing Statistical Inference,” #DUE-9752523, 2/1/98-10/31/2000.
  5. delMas, R., Garfield, J., and Chance, B., “The Web-based ARTIST Project,” #DUE-0206571, 8/15/2002-4/30/2006.
  6. Gal, I. (2002). Adults’ Statistical Literacy: Meanings, Components, Responsibilities. International Statistical Review, 70, 1-51.
  7. Garfield , J. (2000) Evaluating the Statistics Education Reform. Final Report to the National Science Foundation.
  8. Garfield, J., Hogg, B., Schau, C., and Whittinghill, D. (2002), “First Courses in Statistical Science: The Status of Educational Reform Efforts.” Journal of Statistics Education, V(10), Number 2.
  9. Journal of Statistics Education Data Archive,
  10. Moore D., and discussants (1997), “New pedagogy and new content: the case of statistics,” International Statistical Review, 65, pp123-165.
  11. Moore, T., Editor, (2000), Resources for Undergraduate Instructors Teaching Statistics, MAA Notes (52), The MAA and the ASA.
  12. Pearl, D., “CAUSEweb: A Digital Library of Undergraduate Statistics Education.” #DUE-0333672, 10/1/03 – 9/3005.
  13. Rumsey, D. J. (2002). Statistical Literacy as a Goal for Introductory Statistics Courses. Journal of Statistics Education [Online], 10(3).
  14. Snell, L., Doyle, P., Garfield, J., Moore, T., Peterson, B., and Shah, N., (1999), Chance Project Website, including Chance News and Chance Course, NECUSE and #DUE-9653416.
  15. Utts, J. (2003). What educated citizens should know about statistics and probability? The American Statistician, 57 (2), 74-79.