The context of teaching statistics: Statistics anxiety

Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA, Seattle, WA, April 10-14, 2001)
Wilson, V. A.

No discussion of the context of teaching statistics would be complete without acknowledgement of the anxiety that students bring to clss. According to Onwuegbuzie (in press) two-thirds to four-fifths of graduate students experience high levels of stress while enrolled in statistics courses. Some delay taking these courses until late in their academic programs (Onwuegbuzie, 1997a, 1997b); some drop ot completely (Richardson &amp; Suinn, 1972). Some just "labor through the course, making it a high anxiety arena for their classmates and instructors: (Wilson, 1999, P. 2).<br>As statistics instructors, there are at least four questions we need to examine:<br>(1) Should we acknowledge the existence of statistics anxiety or just ignore it?<br>(2) If we acknowledge it, should we attempt to reduce it?<br>(3) If we attempt to reduce it, what strategies might we employ?<br>(4) Should we differentiate instruction--content, proess, and product--in order to address teh comfort levels as well as the learning styles and peferences of our students?

The CAUSE Research Group is supported in part by a member initiative grant from the American Statistical Association’s Section on Statistics and Data Science Education