Professional Development Emphasizing Data-Centered Resources and Pedagogies for Instructors of Undergraduate Introductory Statistics (StatPREP)
The recent report A Common Vision for Undergraduate Mathematical Sciences Programs in 2025 (Saxe & Braddy, 2016), expressing the collective vision of the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges (AMATYC), American Mathematical Society (AMS), American Statistical Association (ASA), Mathematical Association of America (MAA), and Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) and endorsed by the Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences (CBMS), urged the mathematics and statistics community to modernize undergraduate curricula and pedagogies in order to improve student learning. Among the challenges the report issued was a call for the community to close the ever-widening gap between the traditional introductory statistics courses taught at higher education institutions across the country and the data-driven workplace today's college students will enter. Toward addressing this issue, this project, "Professional Development Emphasizing Data-Centered Resources and Pedagogies for Instructors of Undergraduate Introductory Statistics (StatPREP)", will catalyze the widespread use of data-centered methods and pedagogies in undergraduate introductory statistics courses. The project will build on prior work; the positioning of the AMATYC, ASA, and MAA; and existing infrastructures, including the MAA's long-running MAA Professional Enhancement Program (PREP) for mathematics faculty professional development. Specifically, the project will work directly with 240 college-level instructors by (1) offering an extended professional development program for mathematics instructors, particularly at two-year institutions, who teach introductory statistics; (2) establishing regional communities of practice to support instructors who teach introductory statistics; and (3) establishing a national online support network comprising instructors who teach introductory statistics and statistics education experts.
StatPREP will stimulate community transformation by increasing faculty capacity to enact curricular change by incorporating statistical analysis software and computing technology, complex data, open-ended investigations, and statistical thinking into their existing courses. The resources developed by StatPREP will include a library of field-tested lessons appropriate for wide-scale integration into statistics courses as well as interactive, online faculty-development tutorials that will be openly available. Parallel to the intervention and implementation work, the project will address the following questions: (1) How effective is this professional development model in serving as a catalyst for faculty to modernize introductory statistics courses? I.e., did it prompt changes participants' beliefs about statistics education and result in changes in content and instructional practices? (2) How accessible is this model for full- and part-time faculty members at two-year institutions? (3) Does this prompt the formation of sustainable communities of practice and national network? (4) What are the benefits and barriers related to faculty participating in regional communities of practice a national online network?