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The Getting of Wisdom: Educating Statisticians to Enhance Their Clients' Numeracy

Eric R. Sowey
The American Statistician
Vol. 57, No. 2 (May, 2003), pp. 89-93
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30037239
Page Count: 5
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The Getting of Wisdom: Educating Statisticians to Enhance Their Clients' Numeracy
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Abstract

One often hears that "data are not information, information is not knowledge, knowledge is not wisdom." But what will turn data into information, information into knowledge, and knowledge into wisdom? The first two facets of this question are what motivate the description and inference topics in every statistics course. The third facet, the getting of wisdom, progresses as the student's understanding of these topics grows in depth, realism, and resilience, yet its importance is often underrated in statistics courses. Crucial to the getting of wisdom is a competence to argue back to a statistic and to criticize a statistical argument. Imparting this competence should be a vital concern in designing the course syllabus. By adding a little to the syllabus, such a course can also aid the statistician later to open up for his/her client the client's own path to statistical knowledge and wisdom. This can be valuable for advancing numeracy in our alarmingly innumerate society.

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