Teachers' understandings of probability

Yan Liu, Patrick Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Probability is an important idea with a remarkably wide range of applications. However, psychological and instructional studies conducted in the last two decades have consistently documented poor understanding of probability among different populations across different settings. The purpose of this study is to develop a theoretical framework for describing teachers' understandings of probability. To this end, we conducted an 8-day seminar with eight high school statistics teachers in the summer of 2001. The data we collected include videotaped sessions and interviews, teachers' written work, and researchers' field notes. Our analysis of the data revealed that there was a complex mix of conceptions and understandings of probability, both within and across the teachers, which were situationally triggered, often incoherent when the teachers tried to reflect on them, and which did not support their attempts to develop coherent pedagogical strategies regarding probability and statistical inference.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-160
Number of pages48
JournalCognition and Instruction
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychology(all)


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