RSS's getstats campaign will reach 2nd birthday at weekend


  • Date: 17 October 2012

The getstats campaign launched by the Royal Statistical Society to increase awareness of the importance of statistics in every day life will reach its 2nd birthday on Saturday 20th October.

Over the past two years, supported by the Nuffield Foundation, the getstats campaign has worked alongside existing campaigns aimed at improving teaching statistics and mathematics in schools, as well as trying to include quantitative methods in undergraduate degrees outside the STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics/medicine) subjects.

The campaign is working with various organisations that are also seeking to improve the use of statistics in public roles, those of MPS, school governors, charity trustees, etc. who may not realise the vital importance of 'stats' in their every day work.

As getstats explains, "When a councillor is presented with a paper assessing the risks around a policy; when school governors sample the opinion of a school’s parents; when candidates in the forthcoming Police and Crime Commissioner elections talk about the relationship between spending and police effectiveness …it’s a question of numbers, and dealing with them honestly and accurately."

‘Data journalism’ is becoming recognised as a field with stories worthy of broadcasting to the public and another aim of the getstats campaign is to further increase the media's interest in stats. The campaign is collaborating with the Science Media Centre, assisted by a grant from the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills "to bring training in science and statistics right to the heart of both what is taught at journalism schools and what is used in the newsroom, " as well as working with the Chartered Institute of Public Relations on how to use statistics in communications.

On reflection, the Royal Statistical Society should be proud of their work so far and their achievements illustrate the fact that statistics is now being appreciated better, both in terms of education and in the work place. With continued support, the campaign may continue "working towards equipping people in all walks of life with the means better to understand and to prosper in the 21st century world"

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