getstats celebrates 2nd anniversary
This Saturday, 20 October 2012, marks the end of the second year of the getstats campaign – the Royal Statistical Society’s ongoing initiative aimed at improving the nation’s understanding of statistics.
One of the biggest achievements of the campaign so far has been its all-party parliamentary seminars, organised to help MPs learn more about how to make the best use of statistics in their work. A survey of MPs, carried out for the RSS by Ipsos Mori, showed that many might benefit from a greater understanding of statistics. Each ‘getstats in parliament’ seminar focuses on specific issues or sectors such as health and sport, and past speakers have included Tim Harford and David Spiegelhalter. Two further seminars, one on police and crime (to coincide with the run up to the police and crime commissioner elections), and one on schools, are scheduled for 2012.
In education, getstats is working alongside existing campaigns aimed at improving maths and stats education and collaborated with the Actuarial Profession to produce the 2012 report, ‘The future of statistics in our schools and colleges’, which highlights the importance of statistics in the school curriculum. getstats has also worked to raise awareness of statistics within schools; in 2011 launched a poster competition for UK school students to understand the environment through data. getstats is also working alongside partners in higher education to find a place for quantitative methods in more non-science undergraduate degrees.
Addressing the way in which statistics are communicated in the media, getstats has worked very successfully with the Science Media Centre to bring training in science and statistics into journalism schools and newsrooms. It has also collaborated with the Chartered Institute of Public Relations in publishing guidelines on using statistics in communications.
With the support of the Nuffield Foundation, which generously supports the getstats campaign, the Society looks forward to continuing its work in helping society towards a greater understanding of statistics.
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