Student description of
variation while

**working with weather data**

chris reading

University of New England

creading@metz.une.edu.au

SUMMARY

Variation is a key concept in the
study of statistics and its understanding is a crucial aspect of most
statistically related tasks. This study aimed to extend
and apply a hierarchy for describing students’ understanding of variation that
was developed in a sampling context to the context of a natural event in which
variation occurs. Students aged 13 to 17 engaged in an inference task
that necessitated the description of both rainfall and temperature data. The SOLO
Taxonomy was used as a framework for analyzing student responses. Two cycles of
Unistructural-Multistructural-Relational levels, one for qualitative
descriptions and the other for quantitative descriptions, were identified in
responses. Implications of the extended hierarchy for describing understanding
of variation for research, teaching and assessment are outlined.

** Keywords:** Describing
variation; SOLO Taxonomy; Inference task; Secondary students

**__________________________**

*Statistics Education Research Journal,
3(2), 84-105, http://www.stat.auckland.ac.nz/serj*

*Ó International
Association for Statistical Education (IASE/ISI), November, 2004*

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Chris reading

SiMERR National Centre

Education Building

University of New England

NSW 2351

Australia