This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.
One of the most exciting aspects of my job as the head of USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) and an advocate for statistical literacy is to see students coming into the profession of statistics. We are fortunate, according to Bob Rodriguez, past-president of the American Statistical Association (ASA) in a column published in ASA’s AMSTATNEWS, “that the number of students majoring or minoring in statistics is soaring because of positive experiences in AP Statistics courses. The word is out that statistics is a ‘must’.”
Engaging students even earlier than high school is important not only for developing future statisticians but also so that they understand the importance of responding to surveys. Both private and government statistics, including those about agriculture from my agency, are dependent on voluntary survey response.