Developing a Statistics Curriculum for the US

April 04, 2024

Upper School Math Teacher John Wilson created a statistics curriculum for juniors and seniors with the support of a PA grant. Here is his report on the development and implementation of that curriculum.

During the 2022-23 school year, we identified the need to create a statistics course for juniors and seniors with strong analytical skills so that they could continue pursuing mathematics. 

The goal of the curriculum is to teach 11th and 12 grade students the necessary statistical skill set that they can apply to their own unique passions and interests. The vision was to create a curriculum using the most up-to-date technology. The culmination of the statistics coursework is to have the students combine the statistics skills sets with the technology to create a statistics project based upon something they are passionate about.  

I began my research by using free programs for curriculum development. The crux of the curriculum came from the AP course website, specifically AP Statistics. This website helped establish the different units that the students will learn. Another helpful resource was the curriculum developed by former MMFS teacher Holliday Harrigan. Combining the AP Statistics framework with Holliday’s framework allowed me to modify the course content to fit our students’ needs. The new curriculum has seven units (Introduction to Statistics, Describing Statistics, Probability, Probability Distributions, Normal Distributions, Confidence Interval, Hypothesis Testing) with four to five lessons per unit. I shared all the resources I used with other faculty members who are teaching statistics.

Following the curriculum development, I began research regarding the most up-to-date software for the students to use. Google Sheets will be the backbone technology of the class. Analyzing data sets to create visual representations will be one of our goals with this technology. Running linear regressions that fit students’ interests is another goal. I would also like the students to interpret data sets using Python. In order to use this software properly, I took an online Python course offered by Jovian. In this course, I learned how to operate with Python software and an extension called pandas that allows for the analysis of data in multiple facets. The Python software is used in the second semester for students to interpret their unique data sets.   

The students started with a vocabulary unit on statistics. They have learned the difference between statistics and data; the ways in which we classify data; and the different levels of measurement. After that, we moved on to describing data. This unit is much more math-heavy as we are dealing with frequency distributions, mean, median, mode, range, and an introduction to the normal distribution curve. 

I would like to thank the MMFS Parents Association for their support in building a statistics curriculum for the upper school math department.

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