Critical Understanding of Civic Statistics: Engaging with Important Contexts, Texts, and Opinion Questions

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter aims to support teachers and lecturers interested in developing students’ statistical literacy in general and critical understanding of Civic Statistics in particular. The chapter provides practical advice regarding task design and development of activities that encourage critical analysis of statistical texts (such as in the news media or publications of official statistics agencies). Key topics include: analysis of the nature of ‘context knowledge’ and what are ‘meaningful and important’ contexts that are worthy of attention when teaching for understanding of Civic Statistics; ways to bring ‘meaningful and important’ contexts and texts about them (e.g., from newspapers or digital media) into the classroom and to make sure students understand them; ideas about question-posing and designing suitable tasks about these meaningful and important contexts, in particular how to shape ‘opinion questions’ that can elicit students’ critical reading, reflective thinking, and communication of thoughtful opinions; and ideas about the dispositions and habits of mind (e.g., critical stance, ability to ask ‘worry questions’) and skills (e.g., reading comprehension, critical interpretation) we want students to internalized and be able to activate when engaging statistical messages. Based on the guidelines and examples regarding these topics, the chapter discusses implications and recommendations for curriculum design and for teaching and teachers working both at the high-school, college, and adult education contexts, in mathematics education, statistics and data science education, and related STEM disciplines.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStatistics for Empowerment and Social Engagement
Subtitle of host publicationTeaching Civic Statistics to Develop Informed Citizens
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9783031207488
ISBN (Print)9783031207471
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Springer Nature Switzerl and AG 2022.


  • Contextualization
  • Critical numeracy
  • Data literacy
  • Official statistics
  • Statistical literacy
  • Task design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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