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Education News - July, 2009
1. CensusAtSchool News
Release of the NEW CensusAtSchool International 'DataTool'
Australian students can now access other countries' data more easily than ever before.
The Royal Statistical Society Centre for Statistical Education (RSSCSE) has developed a Database Interrogation tool or 'DataTool' that allows quick and easy access to the large amounts of data collected by international CensusAtSchool projects. The tool allows users to choose which variables they want to analyse, and helps them select a suitable graph for representing the data. This effective data visualisation resource will engage students in the analysis of data and hence assist their understanding of statistical concepts. The new DataTool can be accessed from the CensusAtSchool UK website. At the time of writing, the Australian data was unavailable from the site, but we are assisting RSSCSE to resolve this issue.
CensusAtSchool Questionnaire returns in 2010!
Running the project annually provides an increased opportunity for students' data to be part of the nation-wide database. They can then analyse that data in the second half of the year. Annual data collection also offers teachers the opportunity to incorporate CensusAtSchool into their teaching program every year. Feedback from teachers told us that they were keen to complete the CensusAtSchool questionnaire with their students on a more regular basis.
This is an exciting development; one that aims to further improve the statistical literacy of students in upper primary to senior secondary. It also allows teachers to more easily build their own expertise with both CensusAtSchool and statistical concepts.
For more details about the upcoming project please see news article CensusAtSchool to run annually from 2010 and watch this space for information on how your students can get involved in next year's Australian CensusAtSchool data collection!
2. Indigenous Statistics for Schools
On 9 July Education Services released Indigenous Statistics for Schools (ISS). These pages include up to date statistics on the Indigenous population, education, health, housing, work and more. Links to the original on-line data sources are also provided for those who would like to delve deeper.
The pages are aimed at students from upper primary to senior secondary as well as teachers who will now be able to find current data about Indigenous Australians much more easily.
The ISS web pages also cover general issues such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identification (including the history of the Census questions on ethnicity), how Indigenous statistics are collected and the importance of accurate Indigenous statistics.
3. An Idea for the Classroom - Water Use
During the financial year 2007-08, the ABS surveyed persons over the age of 18 years on their environmental views and behaviour (Environmental Views and Behaviour, 2007-08 (cat. no. 4626.0.55.001)). One question asked whether personal water use had remained the same, increased or decreased over the preceding 12 months. Another asked what caused the change if there was one.
You could ask your students to graph the change in personal water use by state/territory (see example above). Ask students to consider what reasons there might be for the differences between the states. Then have students examine the reasons respondents gave for their changed water use by state/territory. Were the reasons expected?
4. Student Achievement in Maths and Science
The June, 2009 release of Australian Social Trends (cat no. 4102.0) includes an article that examines the data from the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2007. It examines the achievement of Australian Year 4 and Year 8 students in maths and science and compares the results across a number of countries. The article also discusses factors that may affect students' results such as student access to resources, student backgrounds and attitudes, teachers qualifications and the school environment. Changes from the 1995 and 2003 TIMSS results are also shown.
5. Finding your way around the ABS website - online!
Following the very successful teacher professional development days around the country, ABS Education Services have added navigation assistants to our web pages that will help you find your way around the ABS website. These Powerpoint slide shows are available for the general ABS web pages (including Census, National Accounts, regional profiles, and more), Education Services specific web pages and for CensusAtSchool.
You can print these out, or download and use them to show other staff how to make the most of the amazing resource that is the ABS website.
For further information or to make suggestions please contact us (also see details below).
6. Homelessness in Australia
Visit the Geography Section of the Education Services website to access this and other Geography activities.
7. Have Your Say Online
ABS Education Services wants to know what you think about our web pages and our resources. What do you find helpful on our website, what is not helpful, what hinders you using our pages, what assists you, how do you use ABS data, what else would be useful for you?
Please complete our on-line survey so that we can improve what we do and how we do it.
8. Recently Released Publications
Remember, all ABS publications are free to download from the ABS website.
Australian Social Trends, June 2009 (cat. no. 4102.0)
The June issue of Australian Social Trends includes a number of sections of interest to teachers. As well as the article on TIMSS mentioned above, this edition includes sections on Health Literacy, Casual Employees and Young people who live with their parents.
Spreadsheets covering key population statistics, education and training data and other areas of social concern are also included.
Information Paper: Introduction of the Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost Index, 2009 (cat no. 6466.0)
Environment and Energy News, June 2009 (cat. no. 4653.0)
Self-employed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People, 2006 (cat. no. 4722.0.55.009)
Housing Finance, Australia, May 2009 (cat. no. 5609.0)
You can view the full range of previously released publications and upcoming releases from the ABS home page under Product Releases.
9. Contact details
Free Call: 1800 623 273
Mail: GPO Box 2796
Education News is a totally free resource that aims to assist teachers use ABS data in their classroom. When you subscribe you will be notified of each new edition as it is published.
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