1330.0 - Education News, May 2012  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 02/05/2012   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All

Education News - May, 2012

This newsletter highlights the latest curriculum related teaching resources, student activities and statistical tools that have been developed by ABS Education Services as well as other ABS resources that are useful for schools.

1. Census At School News
2. Statistical Language- Lost in the Lingo?
3. An Idea for the Classroom: Indigenous data lesson
4. Conferences
5. Causes of death for Indigenous Australians
6. Maths and Stats by Email
7. Indigenous Resources for teachers and students
8. Recently Released Publications
9. Contact Details

A word from the editor

The theme for this edition of EdNews is Indigenous Statistics. Indigenous statistics are particularly relevant in light of the drive to incorporate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures as a Cross Curriculum Perspective in the new Australian curriculum. The ABS has a wide variety of easily accessible data related to Indigenous Statistics, ranging from population to health and education .

In 'An Idea for the Classroom', we have provided an activity comparing the age distributions of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. If you're looking for Indigenous data, statistics and resources, check out our article on 'Indigenous Resources for Teachers and Students'. Are you 'Lost in the Lingo' of statistics? Don't despair! We have some great resources that will better enable you and your students to better understand statistical concepts - you can read all about these in the 'Statistical Language - Lost in the Lingo?' article.

We hope you enjoy reading our second edition of EdNews for 2012. If you have any suggestions for articles or activities that you would like covered in the next edition of EdNews, please don't hesitate to contact me on 1800 623 273.

Anu Edirisuriya.

This edition's feature profile is Tanya Perera. Tanya joined the ABS in May 2010 to work on the 2011 Census of Population and Housing, providing support to the Special Enumeration Managers. She then moved to Education Services in November 2011 and is primarily responsible for communication and promotions, which involves, advertising, marketing, conference planning, responding to client queries and monitoring and managing CensusAtSchool expenditure. Her role involves engaging with various internal and external stakeholders regarding CensusAtSchool matters, a role she very much enjoys having had similar experience whilst in Census.

1. CensusAtSchool News

CensusAtSchool Logo

CensusAtSchool 2012 is underway and participation is on the increase. The graph below shows the proportion of used student access numbers (SANs) from the total that have been issued for each type of school participating in the project - combined (P-12), primary, secondary and special schools. We'll be monitoring progress, and will provide an update on the final level of participation by school type when the questionnaire closes.

Well done to teachers in special schools for leading the way.

It's not too late to participate in CensusAtSchool! Our questionnaire is open to all students now and will close on 6th July 2012. Teachers: don't forget to use your SANs, or apply for some now if you haven't already done so.

Need SANs?
You need a teacher account to generate Student Access Numbers (SANs) in order for your students to complete the 2012 CensusAtSchool Questionnaire. It takes only a few minutes to establish a teacher account.
To set up a teacher account, please access the following link: http://www.cas.abs.gov.au/cgi-local/cast.pl and follow the instructions provided.
You can register a new account at http://www.cas.abs.gov.au/cgi-local/casr.pl

Back to top

2. Statistical Language- Lost in the Lingo?
Statistical Language

Are you and your students lost in the lingo?
The newly released Statistical Language web pages are here to help.

What is Statistical Language?

The Statistical Language pages on the ABS website describe basic statistical concepts to help you and your students make sense of statistics.

The suite of Statistical Language pages allows you to choose from a range of topics with a combination of;
simple user-friendly definitions & explanations,
'real world' examples,
graphs & diagrams,
and interactive links, and
with some topics featuring animations

This diversity of information empowers you and your students to develop statistical literacy and capability in a way that suits individual learning styles.

How and why it is relevant to teachers?

The increased emphasis on statistics in the ACARA mathematics curriculum has boosted the need for relevant and accessible resources for learners of statistics. The emerging curriculum identifies the ability to represent, interpret, and analyse data as essential skills in today’s society.

The Statistical Language resource is ideal for teachers seeking to extend and enhance their own understanding of statistics to better facilitate student learning; it presents basic statistical concepts in the context of how they relate to you, along with their impact on our everyday lives.

Statistical Language takes the learner beyond the theory, to build statistical capability, empowering you and your students in your interaction with statistics.

Where do I find Statistical Language?

Explore Statistical Language at https://www.abs.gov.au/websitedbs/a3121120.nsf/home/statistical+language or visit Understanding Statistics and select the Statistical Language link on the ABS website.

3. An Idea for the Classroom: Comparing the Age Distributions of Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Australians

In this new activity, students investigate the differences between age distributions of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians using data from 2010. The data are given in 5 year intervals so the students need to use mid points to estimate summary statistics. By constructing box and whisker plots, comparisons can also be made with age distribution data from 1991 to see what changes, if any, have occurred in the intervening two decades.

Students will also be interested to follow the links to the population pyramids and view the animation to see how the distributions change over time.

This activity is suitable for Year 10 students and comes with a solution for teachers as well as a rubric mapped against the Australian curriculum proficiency strands.

Do you have a classroom idea that uses ABS data or ABS Education products? Let us know at education@abs.gov.au and we can share it with schools around Australia.

4. Conferences

Upcoming Conferences:

The Education Services Unit of ABS will have representatives at various conferences over the following months:


19th May - Queensland Association of Mathematics Teachers, Townsville

5. Causes of death for Indigenous Australians

Causes of Death, Australia, 2010

Did you know that in 2010, deaths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians represented 1.9% of all deaths for that year? You'll find this fact, and many more about causes of death, in the ABS' recent publication, 'Causes of Death, Australia, 2010'. This publication presents detailed data and commentary about the deaths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, and all, Australians. You can compare data for states and territories, investigate leading causes of death by age and sex, and access a rich 10 year time series of causes of death data for each state/territory and Australia.

You can start your investigation by using the Google search bar on the ABS website to search for the publication by it's catalogue number - 3303.0 (Image 1). A new web page will load with search results - click on the 'Latest issue' link in the grey box to take you to the 2010 publication (Image 2).

Image 1 - Using the Google Search Bar to Find Catalogue Number 3303.0 (Causes of Death)

Image 2 - Accessing the Latest Issues of Causes of Death (2010)

In December 2007, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) identified a target to close the gap in Indigenous disadvantage - death rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons provide important data for assessing this target. In 2010, the age standardised death rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons was approximately twice the rate of non-Indigenous Australians (1206.4 compared to 613.3 per 100,000 people). The Causes of Death publication provides diverse information about the deaths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians - top 10 leading causes of death, male/female death ratios, death rates and rates of avoidable deaths.

If you are following the instructions above for accessing the publication, you should by now be seeing the 'Summary' page of the 2010 publication which displays a table of contents and a series of green tabs across the top of the screen: Summary, Downloads, Explanatory Notes, Related Information and Past & Future Releases. To access the publication commentary for 'Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Persons', click on the link for that publication chapter (Image 3):

Image 3 - Table of Contents for Causes of Death, 2010

To complement the publication tables and graphs, an additional set of tables are provided in Excel datacubes. The great thing about how the Causes of Death publication is displayed is that the green tabs mentioned above - Summary, Downloads etc - are always visible. If you would like to download the data cube which contains Indigenous data, click on the 'Downloads' tab. Scroll down until you see the 'Deaths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians' - click on the Excel file icon and this will walk you through accessing and/or saving the file (Image 4).

Image 4 - List of Causes of Death Datacubes

A few ways you could harness these data in the classroom include:

  • using these tables, along with previous years' published data from 2006 onward, to build and interpret a time series of Indigenous deaths;
  • graph and discuss the differences in causes of death by sex for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians;
  • explore how the pattern of data changes by age and sex for non-Indigneous Australians compared to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

With the incorporation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures as a Cross Curriculum Perspective in the new Australian Curriculum, why not take some time to see how you could harness the rich data available in this annual ABS product?

6. Maths and Stats by Email

Maths and Stats by Email is a fortnightly email newsletter produced by the CSIRO. Recently, the ABS has become a publication partner and will be responsible for the content of several editions each year. Education News subscribers who have not seen this publication might be interested in the activities archive. You can access the archive by using the link from our Education Services Homepage, or by using the following link: http://www.csiro.au/helix/mathsbyemail/newsletter/newsletter.html

A typical 'Maths and Stats by Email' edition contains:

    an article discussing current advances in mathematics and its applications
    a hands-on activity exploring mathematical ideas raised in the article
    several web links to interesting mathematical web pages
    a mathematical puzzle or brain-teaser
    a maths fact

Teachers will find interesting and thought provoking ideas written in a way that is accessible for students aged around 9 -13. Anyone with an interest in Mathematics and/or Statistics would enjoy the stimulating way that the articles are written and teachers should consider showing students how they can subscribe.

7. Indigenous Resources for teachers and students

In the Australian Curriculum ‘Cross Curriculum Perspectives’ encompass the following themes:
      - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures
      - Sustainability
      - Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia

In an effort to assist teachers using the Australian Curriculum, we want to highlight the range of Indigenous data and lessons on our pages that will help you satisfy the ‘Cross Curriculum Perspectives’.

Our Education Services web pages are a gold-mine of information in relation to Indigenous data and lessons.
      - As a starting point, you can visit our Indigenous Statistics for Schools web page which has been specifically tailored to appeal to students. We have a range of Indigenous datasets covering the topic of Indigenous populations over time. These datasets can be found as part of our social and history datasets on the Educations Services website, under the red data’ tab. Keep your eye out for more Indigenous datasets as we add them to our pages.

      - We also have Indigenous themed Census classroom activities, developed to help students to understand the processes and importance of completing a Census. For instance in activity 3.2 students can read and analyse historical extracts that provide snapshot of the changing attitudes of the Australian Government towards Indigenous Australians. There are four activities which can be completed individually or together to form part of a unit of work. They can be found under the green tab, ‘Classroom Activities’ and click on ‘Census Activities’.

      - For more comprehensive Indigenous statistics and data, visit the ABS website - on the grey menu bar, click on Topics at a Glance, select People and then click on ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’.

      - Have a look at Year Book 1301.0, which contains Indigenous data spanning from 1908-2009! Some examples of interesting feature articles include 'Languages of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples - A uniquely Australian heritage' and 'Incomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples'.

        The Australian Year Books can be accessed in two ways from the ABS homepage:
            1. on the left hand side grey navigation column, under Key Products, click on Australian Year Books
            2. in the search field (located on the top right hand corner), type the catalogue number 1301.0

8. Recently Released Publications

In Focus: Crime and Justice Statistics, 2011 (cat.no. 4524.0)
The ABS conducts several statistical collections that provide information relating to crime victimisation and the offending patters of young people. This article collates findings from these collections and provides an overview of youth victims and youth offenders.

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, 2008 (cat.no. 4714.0)
This publication presents summary results from the 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS). Demographic statistics provide measures of the Australian population, its size, growth, composition and geographic distribution, as well as the components that shape population change: births, deaths and migration.

Causes of Death, Australia, 2010 (cat.no. 3303.0)
Information contained in the preceding chapters of this publication refer to deaths registered during the 2010 calendar year. In this chapter, death statistics are based on a year of occurrence, that is the year in which the death actually occurred, rather than the year it was registered. The presentation of year of occurrence data in this publication facilitates international comparisons.
The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, Oct 2010 (cat.no. 4704.0)
This release provides a statistical overview, largely at the national level, of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and welfare. Focussing on topics considered important for health of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population this release presents the latest analysis and results from key national statistical collections.

Year Book Australia, 2009-10: Languages of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples- A uniquely Australian Heritage (cat.no. 1301.0)
This is a feature article provides a comprehensive and detailed statistical overview on Australian Indigenous languages.

Remember, all ABS publications are free to download from the ABS website.

You can view the full range of previously released publications from the ABS under Previous Releases.

9. Contact Details

How to contact ABS Education Services

Free Call: 1800 623 273
Email: education@abs.gov.au

Mail: GPO Box 2796
Melbourne, 3001


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.

General comments: