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Keywords

Lexical Ambiguity, Statistics Education, Undergraduate Student Learning

Abstract

Instructional inattention to language poses a barrier for students in entry-level science courses, in part because students may perceive a subject as difficult solely based on the lack of understanding of the vocabulary. In addition, the technical use of terms that have different everyday meanings may cause students to misinterpret statements made by instructors, leading to an incomplete or incorrect understanding of the domain. Terms that have different technical and everyday meanings are said to have lexical ambiguity and statistics, as a discipline, has many lexically ambiguous terms. This paper presents a cyclic process for designing activities to address lexical ambiguity in statistics. In addition, it describes three short activities aimed to have high impact on student learning associated with two different lexically ambiguous words or word pairs in statistics. Preliminary student-level data are used to assess the efficacy of the activities, and future directions for development of activities and research about lexical ambiguity in statistics in particular and STEM in general are discussed.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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