Unlike other parts of the Maths Curriculum which clearly have right and wrong answers, statistics can be manipulated to demonstrate whatever spin the author wants and therefore it is deciding which statistical tool to use and the interpretation of the results is where the real skill in statistics comes from and for those with the true scientific mind this can be the most difficult.
And this is what Ben Goldacre discusses in his report. There are always reports coming back on how a research project in the classroom has had significant results but whether the findings can be used with others is always dubious as often the research is flawed in terms of research tools even if it looks to be a good idea.
Its interesting to consider that, if we as teachers, struggle with the concept of ensuring a research project is fair and unbiased then no wonder students find this tricky too. Statistics and the manipulation of numbers is definitely higher level thinking even if the tools used to manipulate the figures are relatively straightforward themselves.
There are a number of statistical units of work available for different year groups through this website. Use the links below to introduce the higher order thinking skills to pupils in an interesting an applied way.
Stocks and Shares