"Some Insights about Students’ Interpretations of Histograms”
The interpretation of histograms is a complex process requiring the integration of understanding about how graphs convey information with knowledge about how statistical constructs are displayed graphically. For this study, students in an introductory statistics class completed three histogram comparison tasks at the end of the course to assess their abilities to identify similar means and standard deviations and to evaluate skewness as represented in histograms. Fewer than 50% of the students completed all three tasks successfully. Common errors included inferring the relative value of the mean according to the center of the x-axis rather than the center of the distribution of data, identifying histograms with greater heights as those having the greater standard deviations, and interpreting skewness as a shift of the center of the distribution along the x-axis rather than an asymmetry of the distribution.
FOCUS on Learning Problems in Mathematics
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