Official Statistics and Statistics Education: Bridging the Gap

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Abstract

This article aims to challenge official statistics providers and statistics educators to ponder on how to help non-specialist adult users of statistics develop those aspects of statistical literacy that pertain to official statistics. We first document the gap in the literature in terms of the conceptual basis and educational materials needed for such an undertaking. We then review skills and competencies that may help adults to make sense of statistical information in areas of importance to society. Based on this review, we identify six elements related to official statistics about which non-specialist adult users should possess knowledge in order to be considered literate in official statistics: (1) the system of official statistics and its work principles; (2) the nature of statistics about society; (3) indicators; (4) statistical techniques and big ideas; (5) research methods and data sources; and (6) awareness and skills for citizens’ access to statistical reports. Based on this ad hoc typology, we discuss directions that official statistics providers, in cooperation with statistics educators, could take in order to (1) advance the conceptualization of skills needed to understand official statistics, and (2) expand educational activities and services, specifically by developing a collaborative digital textbook and a modular online course, to improve public capacity for understanding of official statistics.

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Journal of Official Statistics

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