Developing statistical literacy: Student learning and teacher education

Recent international and national mathematics curriculum guidelines indicate the development of students’ statistical literacy, at different levels of schooling, as a major educational aim. In Portugal, the mathematics syllabus for basic education, which began to be implemented in 2009, gives a greater emphasis on statistics, presenting more demanding learning goals, since the elementary levels. This represented a challenging situation for practicing teachers, requiring them to develop new perspectives about the teaching and learning of statistics. In this context, the project Developing statistical literacy: Student learning and teacher education was planned aiming to study the development of statistical literacy from elementary to secondary education, with special attention to two main issues: i) the characterization of key aspects of students’ statistical literacy, particularly regarding the ability to formulate questions, collect data and represent them to answer those questions, and ii) to understand the development of statistical and didactical knowledge to teach this subject. As the project unfolded, another research strand associated with students’ statistical reasoning and the necessary conditions for its development emerged.

Regarding the development of statistical literacy and reasoning, the project assumes a key role on students doing statistical investigations, as this activity tends to engage them in meaningful learning and promotes a holistic view of thinking, mobilizing knowledge in various areas, using complex reasoning processes in a flexible way and helping them to develop critical thinking. In particular, in what concerns statistical knowledge development, the project has been focusing, among others, on the theme of statistics informal inference through the design of learning environments with technological resources that support students’ reasoning processes.

The project has also focused on deepening the field of teachers’ statistical and didactic knowledge to teach and their development in the context of pre-service or in-service teacher education. The knowledge gained by the project research team has supported the planning of courses in teacher education for teachers of different grade levels, as well as the creation of contexts of collaborative work, in close collaboration with professional practice.

This project is developed under the responsibility of the Institute of Education of the University of Lisbon, in partnership with the University of Évora. The project team comprises seven senior researchers from different national higher education institutions, with extensive experience in teacher education. The team also includes PhD and master students, who are teachers or teacher educators from various parts of the country. The results and resources of the project have been disseminated in national and international contexts, through the publication of papers and communications in scientific and professional meetings, and in seminars opened to the national and international mathematics education community.



Start date: 

Tuesday, 1 January, 2013

Area / Group: 

Probability and Statistics


Rosa Antónia de Oliveira Figueiredo Tomás Ferreira

Other members: 

Ana Henriques
Ana Paula Canavarro
Carolina Carvalho
João Pedro da Ponte
Susana Colaço

Financial support: 

90 000EUR

Funding entity: 


Project reference: