# Supporting Students' Ability to Reason about Data

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## Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to describe the role of an instructional sequence and two accompanying computer-based tools in supporting students' developing understandings of statistical data analysis. In doing so, we also take account of the role of the data creation process in supporting students' ability to engage in *genuine* data analysis. Data is taken from two classroom teaching experiments conducted with middle-grades students (ages twelve and thirteen) in the fall semester of 1998 and 1999. Through analysis of two classroom episodes we document 1) the emergence of the sociomathematical norm of what counts as a mathematical argument in the context of data analysis, and 2) the importance of the data creation process in grounding the students' activity in the context of a problem or question under investigation. These claims are grounded in students' ways of reasoning about data as they made arguments in the course of their analyses.

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