U-M project brings U.S. Census to nation’s classrooms

March 14, 1997
  • umichnews@umich.edu

ANN ARBOR—A University of Michigan project giving college and high school students the tools—and the reasons—to analyze U.S. Census data on computers will be demonstrated March 26 at a workshop affiliated with the annual meeting of the Population Association of America in Washington, D.C.

Funded by grants from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education and directed by William H. Frey, a demographer at the U-M Population Studies Center, the project is being used by over 400 college and secondary school teachers nationwide.

“The project is based on the premise that engaging hands-on data analysis cannot be introduced early enough in the social science curriculum,” says Frey. “The goal is to get students working with data early, to explore how American society has changed over the last several decades.”

The workshop, led by Frey and Kimberly Crews of the Population Reference Bureau, will take place from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Information on the project, called the Social Science Data Analysis Network (SSDAN), is also available on the following Web site:

A book, “Investigating Change in American Society,” computer software, and summer workshops for interested secondary school instructors are also available, detailing how to facilitate student data analysis into a variety of introductory courses on topics like family, race, ethnic and gender inequality, poverty, immigration and the labor force.

“Based on a decade of experience here at Michigan and reports by many other faculty, I can say that it works to introduce data analysis exercises and computers into introductory social science courses,” says Frey. “By linking data analysis with engaging social questions and issues, students at all levels come to appreciate why understanding statistics is so important.”

Population Studies Centerhttp://www.psc.lsa.umich.edu/SSDAN/