Advice from the Chief Reader
The following tips were provided by the Chief Reader for AP Statistics after the 2001 AP Reading:
- Emphasize conceptual understanding and communication over mechanics.
- Have students practice communicating conclusions and interpreting results in context throughout the course. Explanations and conclusions in context are always necessary for a complete answer to the free-response questions on the AP Exam.
- Allow sufficient time to cover the entire AP course outline.
- Integrate computer use if possible, and, at a minimum, be sure that students are comfortable with reading computer output.
- Discourage the use of "calculator talk." This is not a good method for communicating what is being done.
Information and Resources
Teaching the Course
The AP Statistics course lends itself naturally to a mode of teaching that engages students in constructing their own knowledge. For example, students working individually or in small groups can plan and perform data collection and analyses where the teacher serves in the role of a consultant, rather than a director. This approach gives students ample opportunity to think through problems, make decisions, and share questions and conclusions with other students as well as with the teacher. Important components of the course should include the use of technology, projects and laboratories, cooperative group problem solving, and writing, as a part of concept-oriented instruction and assessment. This approach to teaching AP Statistics will allow students to build interdisciplinary connections with other subjects and with their world outside school.
Special Equipment/Materials Needed
The AP Statistics course depends heavily on the availability of technology suitable for the interactive, investigative aspects of data analysis. Therefore, schools should make every effort to provide students and teachers easy access to computers to facilitate the teaching and learning of statistics.
Providing instructional information and educational opportunities for teachers is an important component of the Advanced Placement Program. The College Board offers workshops and summer courses and institutes for teachers in all AP subjects.
See the Professional Development Catalog for more information about these and other training opportunities, or contact your College Board Regional Office.
The following publications provide some insight into the philosophy of the AP Statistics course:
Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics, The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Reston, Virginia, 1989.
Statistics for the Twenty-First Century, Florence and Sheldon Gordon, The Mathematical Association of America, Washington, D.C., 1992.
"Teaching Statistics: More Data, Less Lecturing," a paper by George Cobb in Heeding the Call for Change: Suggestions for Curricular Action, Lynn Arthur Steen, Ed., The Mathematical Association of America, Washington, D.C., 1992 (pp. 3 - 43).
For additional suggestions, see "Teachers' Resources" below.