Reasoning With Evidence – Development of a Scale

Reasoning from multivariate evidence is pervasive in political speeches and in the media, but is largely absent in UK schools. Here, we present evidence that students can reason from complex evidence if they are supported appropriately with good computer interfaces. A study will be described where 195 students aged 12 to 15 years were presented with computer-based tasks that require reasoning with multivariate data, together with paper-based tasks from a well established scale of statistical literacy. All the tasks fitted well onto a single Rasch scale; computer tasks were cognitively more complex, but were ranked as being only slightly more difficult than paper tasks on the Rasch scale. Several distinct levels of reasoning are evident in student responses, associated with comprehending; manipulating; and drawing conclusions.

Competence ranges from working with single values, one step computation, and elementary reasoning, through to fluency using a variety of representations, fluency with number, and in synthesising evidence and communicating results clearly. We will show examples of computer-based tasks, student work, the Rasch scale, and will describe the development of a short undimensional scale.


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  • July 21, 2018 Create Date
  • July 21, 2018 Last Updated