I am definitely not the first edublogger to make a post regarding Arthur Benjamin’s lecture seen on TED. He argues that statistics should be the peek of the high school mathematics curriculum rather than Calculus.
I posted a link to this video on the AP Calculus Listserv. Here are a variety of responses I received (These are direct quotes):
There is a kind of depth vs breadth thing going on when you compare Stats and Calculus. Stats has it’s hand in so many subjects which is why it makes such a good senior level class: Economics, Psychology, Sociology, Biology, Chemistry, Medicine, Current Events and therefore Journalism and so on.
I agree that Statistics has it’s hand in the cookie jar; however, we often discuss mathematics from a standpoint of extending a student’s logical process, problem solving skills, and total mental skill set. Is Calculus too deep for some? OF COURSE, but AT THIS POINT, I would not want to steer students from a Calculus track.
The math that has calculus at the top: exponentials, trig, polynomial functions, multivariable relationships, is more broadly applicable to all things numbery than the math that has statistics at the top, Alg1.5.
I have never taught statistics; however, I could understand why it is thought of as Algebra 1.5. It does seem odd that a student has a potential to choose a track such as Algebra II, Pre-Calculus, and then Statistics.
I have never yet seen a group of high school juniors who’ve been taught more than a very small amount of probability or statistics. Take a look at a typical textbook series, and you’ll find a tremendous volume of algebra and geometry, hundreds of pages of conic sections, and maybe a dozen pages of light treatment of statistics.
TOTAL AGREEMENT HERE. I didn’t learn any statistics besides the basics concepts and I was always in honors mathematics courses. When Ohio officially has the four years of mathematics across the board, it will be interesting to see where statistics comes into this discussion.
I will continue with my own inner monologue of thoughts regarding this issue; however, I am interesting in what some of you think about this issue?