School Census was inspired by the CensusAtSchool project (http://www.censusatschool.ntu.ac.uk/)
that was initiated byProfessor Neville Davies of the University of Nottingham
Trent in the UK.
initial phase of this project specifically addresses the needs of teachers
and students in South Australia arising from the introduction of new senior
school mathematics courses by the Senior Secondary Board of South Australia
(SSABSA) in 2003. It aims to provide:
will be offered a total of 18 hours face-to-face professional development.
During these sessions teachers will learn about the content, pedagogical
approaches appropriate for use in the Statistics section of the new courses
and how the census can be used in their classes to provide rich learning
experiences for their students. These sessions are being offered to teachers
free of charge, thanks to the generous support of Casio Australia.
design - Student and teacher consultation
was a most important phase of the project. A representative group of about
20 Year 11 students (of 2002) were invited to meet as a group. Firstly,
they had the project explained to them and then were asked what sort of
things they would like to find out or would be useful to know about their
colleagues as a group. This was be a significant learning experience in
itself as the students had to consider the Privacy Act, what was appropriate
to ask, and so on.
pilot survey was then conducted with the assistance of 20 teachers from
various country and metropolitan schools, each of whom nominated 10 students
to submit responses.
outcome of this process was a series of questions that appear on the survey.
Some further questions have been included so we can contribute to the international
CensusAtSchool database; and also to ensure that the type of data
that results from the survey is most useful in the teaching and learning
of Statistics in the new courses.
All high school students in South Australian secondary schools (2003) will
be invited to complete the census form (survey). The census will take place
after the teacher professional development sessions. A teacher in each school
will inform the Baker Centre of how many students in their school will complete
the survey. The school will be allocated PIN numbers to provide to individual
students. Students will then access the SeniorSchoolCensus-online website,
enter their individual PINs and complete the survey online. Students will
have a period of three weeks to access the website and complete the survey.
The survey will be conducted by goVote (see below) and at the end of the
data collection period, all data will be transferred securely to the Baker
Centre so the next phase of the project can begin.
privacy and anonymity
conducting this census on line, it is essential that student privacy is
protected, and all data is anonymous. For this reason we are very pleased
to have the support of goVote, who specialise in conducting Web based voting,
ballots and surveys, with state of the art encryption and other security
and privacy features, some of which are listed below:
student will have an individual session with the secure goVote
provides 128 bit session encryption, to ensure that what is sent to goVote
gets to goVote and cannot be intercepted.
data will be sent via e-mail.
student particulars are sent to govote, and none of the questions
in the survey require students to identify themselves. Students authenticate
themselves by using individual PIN numbers.
students who present a valid PIN will be able to download the survey,
and each PIN will only allow one completed survey form to be submitted.
will automatically time out after a pre determined period and students
will have to re enter their PIN.
the moment the student presses the ³submit² button, their responses will
responses are cleared from the studentıs screen immediately after they
submit, so that nobody can see what they submitted.
are immediately cleared from the cache of the studentıs browser, so that
nobody can use the ³back² button to see what they submitted.
goVote system processes PINs separately from the responses, and
it is impossible to correlate these two sets of data.
goVote system does not record the IP address of the sending machine.
student will receive an individual receipt on line, to confirm that their
submission has been received, and all receipts will be published after
the census, so that students can verify that their submission has been
of the census output in the classrooms of South Australia
data collected will be considered (for learning purposes) to be that from
a population. In the first instance, teachers and students will not have
access to all the data from the population nor the population parameters
that result. They will, however, have access to as many simple random samples
SRSıs) of whatever size (up to 255) that they desire. It is this that underpins
the unique learning opportunities that flow from this project. Students
will use the SRSıs as tools in their learning. They will be able to investigate
the effects of sample size on confidence interval width, perform hypothesis
tests and calculate confidence intervals just as real statisticians do.
The one difference is that in most real situations the population data are
not available. In this project we withhold information about the population
data until a predetermined date (Aug/Sept 2003) when the population parameters
will be released for all to see. Students can then review the analysis they
have performed in the light of this new knowledge. This will be a truly
revolutionary learning experience, as not even the teachers will have access
to the 'right' answers during the analysis stage.