Census at School Canada
Census at School is an international online project that engages students and teachers from grades 4 to 12 in statistical reasoning. Students anonymously complete an online survey in class that has been designed to provide data of various types for analysis and to provoke interesting questions to investigate. The students’ responses become part of a national database, which is later added to an international database.
Teachers can access the results of their own class’ survey so that their students can describe their class and compare their class results to summary results of Canadians students. Students can collect random samples of responses from the international database to explore how their class compares to a sample of students from another part of the world, and how statistics vary from random sample to random sample. Using data from Census at School, Canadian students have investigated whether boys or girls are more likely to have allergies, how students’ attitudes towards recycling and technology have changed since 2003, explored the relationship between height and arm span, and examined how the time to travel to school differs between Canadian and South African students.
Census at School offers students the opportunity to be involved in the collection and analysis of their own data and to experience what a census is like. It promotes a positive attitude to statistics by engaging students with data that are both relevant and real, while improving their understanding of how data are collected, providing access to large multivariate datasets, promoting effective use of technology, and providing opportunities for cross-curricular statistical investigations.
The international Census at School project originated in the UK in 2000. In 2003, Statistics Canada developed Census at School Canada. Since 2012, the project has been operated by the Statistical Society of Canada.