The RSS formally launched its Teaching Statistics special interest group (SIG) with an event on 3 April 2019. An all-day conference on teaching statistics in higher education was also held at the RSS on the same day, prior to the launch. The new SIG has been formed to provide a platform to collate and disseminate ideas and best practice in the teaching of statistics.
The group is for those teaching statistics in higher education (including postgraduate teaching assistants), post-16 education and professional training.
It aims to promote good teaching practice, innovative use of technology and good assessment practices. It is also interested in facilitating the discussion of the statistics curricula for both specialist and non-specialist students in higher education, learning from institutions which have successfully combined statistics with areas such as computing and data science.
Sharon Witherspoon, RSS vice president of education and statistical literacy, spoke at the conference and the SIG launch (pictured above, second from left). ‘The Royal Statistical Society is delighted that this interest group has been launched with such energy and enthusiasm,' she said. 'Collating, developing and spreading teaching packages, guidance and other materials is essential at a time when teachers need to engage students in statistics using the best and liveliest materials. This is especially important for those already interested in becoming statisticians and those working in a host of other areas, in both higher education and secondary schools, who will need to learn and use statistical skills taught in a way that stimulates and engages them.'
She continued: 'This is a contribution to statistical education, but also to wider statistical literacy and data skills. The work of this SIG is therefore important in helping the RSS to meet its aims in statistics education, and moreover, our wider goals of promoting statistical literacy and better use of data.’
The group is chaired by Elinor Jones (pictured right) with Simon Harden as secretary. Committee members include Laura Bonnett, who helped create the society’s Hands-on Statistics materials, Darren Macey, one of the RSS’s statistical ambassadors, and Andy Field, who presented a session on teaching statistics at last year’s RSS conference.