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4 December 2017

Sustainability meets Statistics and STEM

In August a team of Prof Tim Roberts (Environmental sustainability), A/Prof Peter Howley (Statistics), Ms Latha Lewis (Engineer/Project Officer) and Korbinian Kraus (visiting German undergraduate student in Management of Renewable Energy) undertook a two-week road trip to Dubbo, Broken Hill, Griffith, Orange – visiting schools and running Professional Development teacher workshops at each location surrounding statistics, sustainability and STEM. This was funded by the Department of Education’s Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program.

A brief summary with photos is available at

Pre- and post-visit/workshop surveys were conducted – all measures improved post intervention. Students’ feelings of awareness and interest in statistics increased, on average, by 60-99% (on 7-point Likert Scale); teachers’ confidence in connecting students with valuable practice, and their perceptions of student enthusiasm in projects surrounding statistics and sustainability increased, on average, by 30-50%.



24 October 2017


Special Issue on “Building future generations of statisticians” Statistical Education Research Journal (SERJ)

Guest Editors: Peter Howley, Ayse Aysin Bilgin and Reija Helenius with co-editor Manfred Borovcnik 

  1. Topics

The central theme is ‘initiatives in developing future statisticians’. This does not include the development of program content within tertiary education, rather it refers to the surrounding ‘outreach’ initiatives and supporting mechanisms for increased engagement and interest in (attraction to) the field of statistics.

Such activities aim to arouse interest from the wider community and schools and increase the numbers of individuals engaging with statistics, recognising its value and wanting to be part of the next generation of international players in the field, whether expressly in statistics or in conjunction with other fields of inquiry, or to at least be part of those advocating statistics as a career and accessible endeavour.

Success stories and failure stories are welcomed since each may inform and inspire more successful strategies for arousing student and teacher interest in statistics. It is vital to accompany the results by research in order to draw evidence-based conclusions from the experience.

With the focus on ‘outreach’ activity and engagement, this special edition will draw upon articles which show evidence of:

  • Collaboration with industry, with professional societies, between institutions and others such as African Data Initiative, Japanese Poster competition, ISLP, African Institute for Mathematical Sciences activities, Pakistan Civil Service Academy, Statistical Houses in Iran, Australian National Schools Poster Competition, and US Undergraduate Statistics Project Competition.
  • Innovative approaches to develop a love of statistics in students and society at large (citizens).
  • Overcoming statistical anxiety to increase connection with statistics.
  • Addressing disadvantaged groups to increase connection with statistics.
  • Success stories.
  • Failure stories (e.g., why an initiative failed, what needs to be considered to make them successful).

Articles must address the key aims of increased connection with community, schools, and industry.

Key areas may include local, national and international:

  • Competitions and awards;
  • School-based activities;
  • Collaborative efforts to arrest the shortfall;
  • Innovative activities to increase numbers of students choosing to study statistics;
  • Initiatives, which bring a focus on statistics towards the afore-mentioned aims.

We invite researchers, educators, teachers, societies, academics, and industry alike to submit research articles.

  1. Submission Guidelines

Manuscripts for this special issue will be limited to a maximum of 6000 words of body text and authors are encouraged to aim for 4000-5000 words of body text (apart from abstract, tables and graphs, references, appendices). Manuscripts in Spanish or French are welcome (an English summary of 1000 words must be provided).

Abstract: 15 December, 2017     Full papers: 15 July, 2018

Interested authors may get a document with a more detailed synopsis of the topic.

Contact: Peter Howley [email protected] ; Ayse Aysin Bilgin [email protected]



The Statistical Society of Australia is preparing a submission regarding the Statistics component of the proposed Stage 6 Mathematics Syllabus (including Extensions 1 and 2) as developed by the NSW Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards (BOSTES). The proposed syllabus can be located at:

An initial SSA outline response is available here. We are requesting urgent assistance from any members who are able to assist in the construction of this document. This can be provided in two ways. Firstly, by sending through comments on either the proposed syllabus or the current draft directly to both Peter Howley ([email protected]) and Scott Sisson ([email protected]), or secondly by directly editing the response via Google docs (please contact Scott for access to the document).

The time frame for this is tight – the final response is due to be submitted by 31st August. Accordingly, please provide all comments by 5pm (AEST) on Monday 22nd August, so that they may be incorporated into the final version.

Many thanks in advance for your positive response to this important opportunity to influence the way statistics is taught in NSW Secondary Schools.

Peter Howley and Scott Sisson


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