New Editor Takes Reins of Statistics Teacher

New Statistics Teacher (ST) editor, Jessica Cohen, may be new to the role, but not to the journal.

Cohen, a professor at Western Washington University (WWU), is a former associate editor of the Statistics Teacher Network, ST’s PDF predecessor. With the journal’s spring issue, she’ll take over for outgoing editor Angela Walmsley.

“Angela has set the stage really nicely,” Cohen said, “I’m hoping to take the year to ease into what she’s been doing and build on some of the contacts she’s made already.”

Cohen’s day job at WWU is in pre-service education—teaching future teachers—which gives her the perfect background and great insight into how to give K–12 teachers the resources to effectively teach statistics.

Jessica Cohen

“[I have] done a lot of work around how we can meaningfully teach probability and statistics both to pre-service teachers so they really have a deep, meaningful understanding of the content, but also what they can use to work with their own students,” she said.

Cohen’s broad goals for Statistics Teacher align with a current push from the ASA to increase statistical literacy within the general public and provide resources to educators who may not have much depth in statistics.

“It’s easy to go all the way through even college-level quantitative literacy classes and not really get a strong background in statistics,” Cohen said. “So [I’m] thinking about how we can fill that in so they’re able to reach their students in a way that is developing a good, deep conceptual understanding and the kind of critical thinking about data that they’ll need to be good citizens and consumers of information.”

During her tenure as editor, Cohen is looking forward to expanding the reach of ST and increasing the number of writers for the journal.

“I really would like to broaden the voice, get more people writing and sharing what they’re doing in their classrooms,” she said. “I’d like to be reaching out to a broader range of teachers and trying to help get folks aware that Statistics Teacher is a resource they might be interested in writing for.”

Another area Cohen would like to emphasize, she says, is continuing to build on the ST community.

“I think the really exciting part is having the opportunity to help teachers get acquainted with more ideas for how they can effectively teach statistics,” Cohen said. “To have a platform for communicating with teachers about developments in statistics education and doing what we can to support helping with quantitative literacy and getting students prepared to be critical thinkers. … The role that Statistics Teacher can play in that is really exciting.”

Joining Cohen this year is Tim Jacobbe from the University of Florida. Jacobbe, a former chair of the ASA/NCTM Joint Committee, will serve as the ST lesson plan editor. He is a co-author of Bridging the Gap Between Common Core State Standards and Teaching Statistics and leader of the NSF-funded Levels of Conceptual Understanding in Statistics (LOCUS) project.