eCite Digital Repository

Variation and Expectation for Six-Year-Olds


Watson, JM, Variation and Expectation for Six-Year-Olds, Statistics in Early Childhood and Primary Education, Springer, A Leavy, M Meletiou-Mavrotheris, E Paparistodemou (ed), Singapore, pp. 55-73. ISBN 978-981-13-1043-0 (2018) [Research Book Chapter]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2018 Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd.

DOI: doi:10.1007/978-981-13-1044-7_4


Watson (2005) made the claim that contrary to the traditional order of introduction in the school curriculum, where measures associated with expectation (e.g. mean) were introduced years before measures associated with variation (e.g. standard deviation), children began to develop the concept of variation before that of expectation. This study explores the primitive understanding of the two ideas by seven 6-year-olds as they worked through four interview protocols devised for older students. The protocols included drawing ten lollies from a container of 100, 50 of which were red, creating a pictograph from concrete materials to show how many books some children had read; interpreting from a movable bar chart with information on how children travel to school; and explaining maximum daily temperatures for their city. These contexts were then used to ask the students to make predictions, for example related to the number of red lollies out of 10, who would most want a book for Christmas, how a new child would come to school, and the highest maximum temperature for a year. Across the contexts, students were asked to create or manipulate representations of information (data). At no time were the words "variation", "expectation", or "data" used with the children. Videos, transcripts, and written artefacts were analysed to document demonstration of understanding of the two concepts in relation to data. Evidence of appreciation of variation occurred much more frequently than evidence of appreciation of expectation.

Item Details

Item Type:Research Book Chapter
Keywords:Variation Expectation Statistics Early childhood
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Curriculum and pedagogy
Research Field:Mathematics and numeracy curriculum and pedagogy
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Other education and training
Objective Field:Other education and training not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Watson, JM (Professor Jane Watson)
ID Code:127894
Year Published:2018
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (A00000716)
Deposited By:Education
Deposited On:2018-08-20
Last Modified:2019-01-21

Repository Staff Only: item control page