Implementing and analysing statistical inquiry approaches in primary and lower secondary school statistics

Camilla Hellsten Østergaard

PhD defence

Doctoral candidate

Camilla Hellsten Østergaard


Statistics plays a special role in how school mathematics contributes to citizenship. This thesis contributes insight into the conditions for realising statistical inquiry in primary and lower secondary schools. We examined students’ development of statistical praxeologies within various inquiry approaches, the ecology of statistical inquiry, and the paradidactic infrastructure needed to support teachers’ professional development and their implementation of statistical inquiry. A variety of the research projects were drawn on by this thesis, with partly different methodologies, such as case studies and different formats of design research. In terms of theoretical frameworks, we drew on two rather different paradigms: the anthropological theory of the didactic, and cultural-historical activity theory. In our research, we modelled students’ participation using question-and-answer diagrams and as statistical praxeologies. We analysed the conditions and constraints that affect statistical inquiry in classrooms and the paradidactic infrastructure that supports teachers’ professional development. We modelled teachers’ participation in interacting activity systems and as a process of expansive learning. We observed a variety of assumptions about the nature of statistical inquiry held by teachers and researchers. We also demonstrate the potential of study and research paths developed through lesson study or other forms of teacher–researcher collaboration, for leading to sustainable statistical inquiry practices.

Download the thesis: Implementing and analysing statistical inquiry approaches in primary and lower secondary school statistics

Chair of defence

Associate Professor Adrienne Traxler, Department of Science Education, University of Copenhagen

Assessment committee

Professor Morten Misfeldt (chair), Department of Science Education, University of Copenhagen

Professor Andreas Eichler, U. of Kassel, Germany

Professor Marianna Bosch, U. of Barcelona, Spain


Professor Carl Winsløw, Department of Science Education, University of Copenhagen

Co-supervisors (until June 2022)

Docent Charlotte Skott, Københavns Professionshøjskole 

Associate Professor Klaus Rasmussen, Københavns Professionshøjskole