Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Kate Kline

Second Advisor

Dr. Jane-Jane Lo

Third Advisor

Dr. Ok-Kyeong Kim

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Carol Crumbaugh


Informal inferential reasoning, statistics education, elementary students


One growing area of research on statistical learning is Informal Inferential Reasoning (IIR). Makar and Rubin (2009) describe IIR as having three components: making and evaluating inferential claims, supporting claims explicitly with data, and attending to the inherent uncertainty present in statistical inference-making. This dissertation study was built around developing a method for providing opportunities for elementary school students (Grades K, 2, and 4) to engage with IIR within the context of stories and storytelling through a method called Storytelling-Questioning. After interacting with and discussing two separate stories, it was found that students of each grade level were able to engage in IIR through this method although magical contexts and accessibility of data in the stories were important constraining factors. Overall, while students were able to engage with IIR, they struggled to identify relevant data and to support their claims about uncertainty.

This study contributes to the description of the IIR abilities of elementary school students. It also provides the foundation for enhancing a common pedagogical approach used by elementary school teachers, reading stories, in a new and practical way in order to engage young children with statistical ideas.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access