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Title:  Effects of an Inquiry-Oriented Curriculum and Professional Development Program on Grade 7 Students' Understanding of Statistics and on Statistics Instruction
Description: The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of the Supporting Teacher Enactment of the Probability and Statistics Standards (STEPSS) program on classroom instruction and student understanding of grade 7 statistics. This randomized controlled trial in 40 Broward County, Florida, middle schools compared the STEPSS program condition (a 20-day replacement curriculum unit designed to support teaching and learning of the probability and statistics standards in grade 7, along with four days of professional development for teachers) with practice-as-usual statistics instruction and teacher professional development. The initial study sample included 155 grade 7 mathematics teachers and 14,045 grade 7 mathematics students in the 40 schools. The STEPSS program improved student performance on a test of conceptual understanding of statistics and increased the levels of cognitive demand and classroom discourse in classroom statistics instruction. The magnitude of the effect on student performance was 23 percent of one standard deviation, which is comparable to an increase of 9 percentile points for an average student. In addition, the study found that teachers involved students in tasks involving higher levels of cognitive complexity and engaged their students in higher levels of reasoning and discussion about each otherís ideas regarding probability and statistics in the schools where teachers participated in the STEPSS program. The results of this study suggest that school districts should consider implementing the STEPSS program as a way to improve student understanding of and instructional practice in grade 7 statistics. Mathematics programs that are subjected to randomized controlled trials rarely result in positive impacts on student test performance of the magnitude attained in this study.
Online Availability:
Cover Date: January 2021
Web Release: January 26, 2021
Publication #: REL 2021055
Center/Program: REL
Associated Centers: NCEE
Type of Product: Impact Study
Questions: For questions about the content of this Impact Study, please contact:
Amy Johnson.