Implementing Reform-Oriented Statistics in the Middle Grades: Teacher Support Structures

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Gerstenschlager, Natasha E.
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Middle Tennessee State University
With the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM) (CCSSI, 2010), statistics and probability have a more influential role in the middle grades curriculum than in the past. Specifically, sixth grade now begins middle-school students’ formal exposure to and experience with statistics. However, statistics is generally not a priority in teacher preparation programs leading to teachers’ poor content knowledge in statistics. Also, some teachers do not feel prepared to teach statistics as described in the CCSSM and other reform-based documents. These prove to be barriers to reform-based instruction, and some have recommended using lessons created by statistics educators as a way to address these barriers. Unfortunately, simply having these lessons is not enough to ensure that students develop a conceptual understanding of the topic. In addition, even if teachers have those lessons, there is limited research on how well instruction aligns with curriculum expectations when it is implemented in the classroom. Therefore, this descriptive case study explored the implementation fidelity of a reform-oriented statistics lesson in a sixth-grade classroom. A secondary component of the study was to explore what support structures the teacher identified as necessary for implementation.
Implementation fidelity, Middle grades, Pedagogical content knowledge, Reform mathematics, Statistics