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Durham University

School of Education

Staff Profile

Publication details for Prof Jim Ridgway

Nicholson, J. & Ridgway, J. (2018), Real-world contexts in statistics components of UK mathematics examinations: aiming forward, walking backwards, in Sorto, M. A. White, A. & Guyot, L. eds, Tenth International Conference on Teaching Statistics (ICOTS10). Kyoto, International Statistical Institute, Voorburg, The Netherlands.

Author(s) from Durham


Reasoning with data is pervasive in society; evidence-based policy requires reasoning about
complex data; many statistics curricula do not equip students to understand such reasoning. A new
mathematics curriculum for upper secondary school (pre-university) students has been taught in
England from September 2017, which includes assessment based on large-scale, pre-released data.
Here, we critique the specimen examination papers, identifying inappropriate uses of statistics, and
a failure to understand the rationale for working with large scale, authentic, data sets. We offer an
account of how this poor state of affairs has come about.