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What Is Statistics In High School

By David Krug 3 minute read

If you’re good with numbers and want to pursue a degree in mathematics, statistics is a great option for you as a college major. Preparing for college and your future career is never too early for high school students who are interested in studying statistics. If you want to have an advantage in this field of study, there are many things you can do to prepare, including taking any statistics classes your high school offers, completing a lot of math, and rounding out your high school schedule with classes in computers, social and natural sciences.

Courses in Probability and Statistics for High School Students

Why wait until college to get your first experience studying statistics if you think you want to work as a statistician? Although most high schools provide introductory statistics courses, only a small percentage of students actually take advantage of them. According to Education Week, 75% of graduating high school seniors have the option of taking a probability and statistics course, but only 25% of those students actually did so in 2016.

Introductory high school statistics courses may require students to have taken at least two years of algebra in order to participate. It teaches students the fundamentals of statistical theory, including the patterns of data distribution, deviations from those patterns, probability, and randomness.

Only 8% of graduating high school seniors have taken the AP Statistics course, which is also offered as an honors option.

The Best Math Courses for Those Considering a Career in Statistics.

Statistics and pure mathematics have many similarities, but there are also some significant differences. Statistical analysis is a mathematical science in its own right, rather than a subfield of mathematics. Mathematical theorems that underlie statistical methods and analyses must be understood by students of statistics.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), students who want to be statisticians or mathematicians should take “as many math courses as possible” in high school. In order to pursue a career in statistics, students should take calculus and algebra in high school, with a focus on linear algebra.

Statistics is more of an applied than a theoretical branch of mathematics.

A high school course in computer science

Computers have become an essential part of statisticians’ toolkits in the modern era. The International Association for Statistical Education (IASE) reported that graphing calculators and statistical software packages have made it easier and more efficient for statisticians to analyze numerical data, develop simulations of data and present statistical findings. To be a statistician, one must be able to use computers to perform statistical analysis. If you want to be a statistician or a mathematician in the future, the BLS recommends that you take computer programming courses.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that some statisticians come from a background in computer science.

Humanities and Sciences of the Mind

You’ll need more than just a grasp of statistical methods to succeed as a statistician. When applying these concepts, you must also be familiar with the underlying principles. In the social, behavioral, and physical or life sciences, statisticians are often employed. Survey methodology and the design of experiments are essential in these fields, so it is important for aspiring statisticians to learn about these concepts.

For scientific purposes, statisticians often use data analysis. If you are interested in applying statistical methods to medicine, environmental science, forestry and agriculture and so on, there is a field of study called biostatistics. At the high school level, it can be beneficial to study sciences such as biology, physics, and chemistry. Because knowing why people behave the way they do can help you interpret the data you analyze, statistics often benefits from psychology, which is the study of behavior.

In the social sciences, statistics frequently plays a role in making public policy decisions and figuring out how people’s attitudes and behaviors are changing. Take high school government, civics, and politics courses if you plan to work in the public sector or the social sciences.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the federal government employs approximately 4,836 statisticians.

David Krug