Meet Common Core Standards with Statistics

Cartoon Depicting Mr. Alfred De Fuisseaux

Cartoon Depicting Mr. Alfred De Fuisseaux (1843-1901)
As a Figure Juggling with Figures
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.”–Mark Twain

The Numbers Game

Statistics are everywhere. Politicians, pundits, journalists, lobbyists, academics, students, and scientists–these are just a few examples of people who use statistics to defend their work. But statistics are often presented in ways that can alter how we understand and interpret a particular issue, which is why statistical literacy is so important.

Statistical Literacy and Common Core Standards

Statistical literacy includes the ability to find, analyze, and interpret statistics. Common Core State Standards emphasize the importance of statistical literacy.

Here are a few Common Core Standards that relate to statistics:

  • CCSS.Math.Content.HSS.IC.A.1 Understand statistics as a process for making inferences about population parameters based on a random sample from that population.
  • CCSS.Math.Content.HSS.IC.B.3 Recognize the purposes of and differences among sample surveys, experiments, and observational studies; explain how randomization relates to each.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

Analyzing Statistics

A Common Core-aligned statistical analysis should cover three major steps:

  • Find statistics on a subject of interest
  • Analyze statistics
  • Apply Knowledge by evaluating credibility and making conclusions about statistics

Take a look at this infographic:

Infographic. Electric Vehicles

Image by ProQuest LLC via ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher

Based on this infographic, California has the highest number of electric vehicles. But these data only tell part of the story. Consider California’s population size: it is the most populous state in the United States, which puts California at a distinct advantage when presenting a simple tally. More sparsely populated states would likely favor presenting these statistics as electric vehicles per capita. Both presentations of data are correct, but the way in which these statistics are presented may alter our understanding and interpretation.

This example illustrates the importance of statistical literacy. Statistical representation, however, is only one facet of statistical analysis. Other considerations include: sources, authors, sponsoring organizations, dates, historical context, statistical methodologies, and comparable studies.


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Statistical literacy will help students meet Common Core Standards, but it will also help them understand and think critically about the statistics that bombard them every day.

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