Monday, October 01, 2018

What’s Going On in this Graph?

Reading – i.e. the ability to understand and derive meaning from textual information – will always an essential academic skill.

But today we live the age of data, and basic numeric and statistical proficiency are also going to be de regueur throughout the 21st century.

Academic goals and curricula are already changing to reflect this trend. Among the most pressing of these new number-based skills is the ability to understand charts and graphs, to wean pertinent information and draw relevant conclusions from visual information (e.g. ACT science scores depend on this skill).

In partnership with the American Statistical Association, the New York Times is aiming to make its own contribution to the data literacy of America’s collective student body by presenting a new feature throughout the 2018-19 academic year:

What’s Going On in This Graph?

Each week, a new professional-grade NYT infographic will be presented with questions to aid in analyzing, understanding, and questioning the information it illustrates. The stated purpose of the educational project is to “teach students how to read, interpret and question graphs, maps and charts,” and is intended to support math and stats teachers across the country.

Information presented graphically is going to become more and more a part of daily life as time marches on. Data visualization, and visual communication generally, are on the rise as essential academic and life skills.

This effort by the NYT and ASA is to be applauded. I look forward to checking out the featured infographics each week, and hope you will do so, as well.

Click here for the latest graph in the series.

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