Communicating and teaching statistics events at RSS Conference

Written by Web News Editor on . Posted in Features

Scott Keir, head of education and statistical literacy at the RSS, provides a round-up of all of the sessions and events at this year's RSS Conference that will be of interest to anyone involved in teaching or promoting statistics in schools or communicating statistics.

This year's RSS International Conference, held this week in the beautiful city of Cardiff, looks set to be a brilliant event. I'm especially pleased to see such a wide range of sessions that contribute to our strategic goal of education and statistical literacy. As I look back over the past few years' programmes, I see a steady increase in the range and number of sessions, to the point where 'Communicating and teaching statistics' is now a regular session stream, and the professional development stream routinely includes sessions focusing on developing communication skills, essential for the modern statistician.

The Professional Statisticians’ Forum: Building on its success

Written by Trevor Lewis and Gemma Hodgson on . Posted in Features

The Professional Statisticians’ Forum (PSF) was established in 2012 by the Royal Statistical Society's Professional Affairs Committee in order to supplement other activities laid on by the RSS by focusing on professional statisticians and how they make an impact in the workplace through the development of their skills and knowledge; and the novel application of statistical science.

Although the topics covered in PSF events are targeted to be of interest to professionally qualified members of the RSS, those holding GradStat, CStat and CSci awards, the meetings are free-to-attend and open to all, both members of the RSS and non-members.

Event report: RSS William Guy lecture – Teenagers and society

Written by Lexy Sorrell on . Posted in Features

On 22 June 2018, RSS William Guy lecturer, Jeff Ralph, presented a talk on 'Teenagers and society: How statistics reveal the changes in young people’s lives through the last century' at a Year 9 South West Mathematics Masterclass Event taking place at the University of Plymouth. The audience included about 150 pupils from schools across Devon and Cornwall.

Jeff used official statistics to illustrate just how much many aspects of life have changed over the last hundred years. He started by presenting the top five baby names from 2005 for boys and girls and showed how the most popular names have changed since 1900. Using the percentages of boys and girls being born with those top names for the whole population, Jeff produced a good approximation of the number of students in the room with these names, showing that the sample of students in the room provided a good representation of the population as a whole.

Keeping pace with a changing economy: The Economic Statistics Working Group

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The Economic Statistics Working Group (ESWG) is a joint initiative between a number of expert groups, including the Royal Economic Society, the Society of Professional Economists and the Royal Statistical Society, working with the Office for National Statistics, in order to engage with issues around economic measurement. ESWG member and chair of ONS Economic Experts, Joe Grice, explains what the group has done so far and its aims for the future.

We live in a world where huge changes are occurring both in our societies and the ways that our economies work. Advances in technology mean that new products and services are emerging that did not exist only a few years ago: a mobile phone today is a very different proposition from one ten years ago. These same leaps in technology are also influencing existing products and services, pervasively changing their character and quality.

Meeting report: The future of the RPI

Written by Louise Whatham on . Posted in Features

On June 13 2018, the RSS hosted an important and well-attended meeting on ‘The Future of the RPI’, bringing together many distinguished speakers, including the UK National Statistician John Pullinger (pictured), representing a broad spectrum of opinions.


In 2011, the Office for National Statistics carried out a comprehensive investigation into one of the formulae (Carli) used in the compilation of the RPI and concluded it was flawed. However, a consultation in late 2012 showed an overwhelming majority in favour of keeping the RPI formulae unchanged so that the behaviour of the index was not altered. Acknowledging this, the National Statistician of the time decided not to change the formula and also to 'freeze' its compilation but at the same time to discourage its use. In 2013 the RPI lost its national statistic status. It remains, however, widely used.

Figuring it out: Training our third cohort of stats ambassadors

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The RSS statistical ambassador scheme is now in its fourth year with a third cohort of ambassadors recruited. On 18 June a new cohort of ten statistical ambassadors (see below for details) attended their first of two training days at the Royal Statistical Society in London.

A misunderstood statistic can have life-changing effects, such as causing thousands of unwanted pregnancies, or an extremely tragic miscarriage of justice. Even on a day-to-day level, miscommunicated statistics can cause confusion about whether it’s okay to eat bacon or not; or even whether changes to the national lottery increases your chances of winning.

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