Supporting the development of college-level students' conceptions of statistical inference
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The transition from descriptive to inferential statistics is a known area of difficulty for students taking introductory statistics courses. This chapter shares the experiences from a teaching experiment in a college-level introductory statistics classroom that implemented an informal, data-driven approach to statistical inference using the dynamic statistics software Fathom© as an investigation tool. Findings from the study indicate that the informal inferences on which instruction focused in the first part of the course helped students develop understandings of fundamental aspects of inferential and argumentative reasoning that served as foundations for the formal study of inferential statistics in the latter part of the course. The affordances offered by the tool for delving deeply into the data to make sense of the situation at hand were instrumental in supporting student understanding of both informal and formal inferential statistics.