Creating Data Literate Students

“[A] great resource!”

– 2017 conference attendee


Book Cover for Creating Data Literate Students (Design by David Young)

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Your high school students are swimming in data. From BuzzFeed quizzes to charts and tables in textbooks, from statistics flouted by politicians to figuring out what student loans really mean, data plays a big role in how they navigate the world.

Data — both raw and displayed in visualizations — can clarify or confuse, confirm or deny, persuade or deter. Students often learn that numbers are objective, though data in the real world is rarely so. In fact, visualized data — even from authoritative sources — can sometimes be anything but objective.

There is growing recognition among librarians that students are either making poor decisions about the quality of statistics, data, and related visualizations or that they lack the ability to comprehend these resources altogether. How do students interpret statistics, data, and related visualizations and issues “in the wild” when conducting research

Librarians and classroom educators need to be as fluent with quantitative data as they are with text in order to support high schoolers as they engage with data in formal and informal settings. We asked contributors to this volume — experts in high school curriculum, information literacy and/or data literacy —  to explore the intersections between data and curriculum and identify high-impact strategies for demystifying data for educators and students alike.

Creating Data Literate Students provides high school librarians and educators with foundational domain knowledge to teach a new subset of information literacy skills — data and statistical literacy, including:

  • statistics and data comprehension
  • data as argument
  • data visualization

Working in concert, these concepts can help librarians and educators make better sense of real-world data concerns and have the confidence and content knowledge to share those skills with the high schoolers they serve.

Table of Contents


Kristin Fontichiaro, Jo Angela Oehrli, Amy Lennex

Chapter 1: Introduction to Statistical Literacy
Lynette Hoelter

Chapter 2: Statistical Storytelling: The Language of Data
Tasha Bergson-Michelson

Chapter 3: Using Data in the Research Process
Jole Seroff

Chapter 4: Real world data fluency: How to use raw data
Wendy Steadman Stephens

Chapter 5: Manipulating data in spreadsheets 
Martha Stuit

Chapter 6: Making Sense of Data Visualization
Justin Joque

Chapter 7: Data presentation: Showcasing your data with charts and graphs
Tierney Steelberg

Chapter 8: Deconstructing data visualizations: What every teen should know
Susan Smith

Chapter 9: Designing your infographic: Getting to design
Connie Williams

Chapter 10: Using data visualizations in the content area
Jennifer Colby

Chapter 11: Teaching Data Contexts: An Instructional Lens
Debbie Abilock

Chapter 12: Diving Lessons: Taking the Data Literacy Plunge Through Action Research
Susan D. Ballard