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By the numbers - Statistics teaching

A report on the extent to which trainee maths teachers are prepared to teach statistics has found that many did not like the subject at school. The Royal Statistical Society (RSS) has also found that most trainees spent little time studying statistics at university.

The RSS interviewed more than 120 PGCE maths students and course leaders at 17 universities. While 70 per cent of the trainee teachers knew about topics in the key stage 3 curriculum, they were not necessarily confident about teaching them. And although course leaders provided support on teaching statistics, gaining experience of teaching the subject in school was an ad hoc process.

The RSS has called for statistics to be part of the core curriculum between the ages of 14 and 19 and for more training to be made available on how to teach it.

What was the title of your first degree?

Maths 41%

Maths combined 14%

Engineering 14%

Computer science 3%

Social sciences 9%

Other 19%

What percentage of the content of your first degree course consisted of statistics?

6-10% - 22%

11-25% - 28%

26-50% - 9%

51-75% - 2%

>75% - 2%

None - 10%

<5% - 27%

How much knowledge of statistics have you acquired on the PGCE?

None 51%

Didn't answer 5%

Lots 26%

Not much 2%

Basic 16%.

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