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Developing statistical thinking

This module will help you develop your knowledge, appreciation and understanding of the learning of statistics particularly at Key Stages 2 to 4. As well as improving your statistical thinking, you’ll learn about different teaching approaches, including use of ICT tools such as scientific calculators and computers. There is no formal examination: assessment is based on three tutor-marked assignments and an end-of-module assessment. To complete these assessments, you’ll need access to learners of statistics at Key Stages 2–4, which could include adult learners. 

Modules count towards OU qualifications

OU qualifications are modular in structure; the credits from this undergraduate-level module could count towards a certificate of higher education, diploma of higher education, foundation degree or honours degree.

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Module code
Study level
3 10 6
Study method
Distance Learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements
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Student Reviews

I did this course after MEXR624 and ME624 (now replaced by ME620 Mathematical Thinking in Schools). The earlier courses were...
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I really enjoyed this course. ME626 allows consideration of the best way to approach a statistical problem and also reflect...
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What you will study

This module will broaden your grasp of the ‘big ideas’ of statistics and how people learn and use them, and:

  • develop your data handling skills and statistical thinking
  • raise your awareness of the importance of learners being able to collect, analyse and interpret data to solve problems
  • provide experience of different teaching approaches and the learning opportunities they afford
  • develop your awareness of, and facility with, ICT in the learning and teaching of statistics
  • develop your knowledge and understanding of the statistical ideas underpinning Key Stage 2–4.

The module consists of four blocks, covering the following:

Block 1: describing, comparing and interrelating with words and numbers; uncertainty.

Block 2: describing, comparing and interrelating with pictures; picturing probability.

Block 3: describing, comparing and interrelating with ICT; probability with ICT.

Block 4: modelling; statistical investigation; teaching and learning statistics.

You will learn

Successful study of this module should enhance your skills in:

  • communicating mathematical ideas clearly and succinctly
  • explaining mathematical ideas to others.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material and mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. There will be individual telephone tutorials rather than face-to-face group tutorials, and some tutors may offer online tutorials. 

Contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.


The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You can choose whether to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) on paper or online through the eTMA system. You may want to use the eTMA system for some of your assignments but submit on paper for others. This is entirely your choice.

The end-of-module assessment will take the form of a 3000-word tutor-marked assignment. You will be given more detailed information when you begin the module.

The end-of-module assessment (EMA) must be submitted online.

Future availability

The details given here are for the module that starts in April 2015. We expect it to be available once a year.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are available on our Essential documents website.

Course work includes:

3 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school


The module is open to anyone aged 18 or over, though in particular it has in mind teachers, teaching assistants, home-school parents and special educational needs co-ordinators.

Your own knowledge of statistics should be at or above the level of a B in GCSE maths, or you could have studied Mathematical thinking in schools (ME620) or the discontinued modules ME624 or MEXR624.

It is recommended that you study ME620 before this module as it provides a useful background in mathematics education and you are more likely to successfully complete this OU level 3 module. 

If you are considering taking ME626 alongside another OU module, please bear in mind that the workload for this one alone is around 12 hours a week.

In order to complete the module assessments, you will need regular access to at least one other learner of statistics, with whom to work on approximately two tasks a week. 

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service.


Start End England fee Register
28 Mar 2015 Sep 2015 £1316.00

Registration closes 05/03/15 (places subject to availability)


You may need to apply for some payment or funding options earlier. Please check the Fees and Funding information or contact us for information.

This module is expected to start for the last time in April 2017.

Ways to pay for this module

Open University Student Budget Account

The Open University Student Budget Accounts Ltd (OUSBA) offers a convenient 'pay as you go' option to pay your OU fees, which is a secure, quick and easy way to pay. Please note that The Open University works exclusively with OUSBA and is not able to offer you credit facilities from any other provider. All credit is subject to status and proof that you can afford the repayments.

You pay the OU through OUSBA in one of the following ways:

  • Register now, pay later – OUSBA pays your module fee direct to the OU. You then repay OUSBA interest-free and in full just before your module starts. 0% APR representative. This option could give you the extra time you may need to secure the funding to repay OUSBA.
  • Pay by instalments – OUSBA calculates your annual fees and spreads them out over up to a year, enabling you to pay your fees monthly and walk away with a qualification without any further debt. APR 5.1% representative.

Read more about Open University Student Budget Accounts (OUSBA).  

Employer sponsorship

Studying with The Open University can boost your employability. OU qualifications are recognised and respected by employers for their excellence and the commitment they take to achieve one. They also value the skills that students learn and can apply in the workplace.

More than one in 10 OU students are sponsored by their employer, and over 30,000 employers have used the OU to develop staff so far. If the qualification you’ve chosen is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could approach your employer to see if they will sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. 

  • Your employer just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.
  • You won’t need to get your employer to complete the form until after you’ve chosen your modules.  

Credit/debit card

You can pay part or all of your tuition fees upfront with a debit or credit card when you register for each module. 

We accept American Express, Maestro (UK only), Mastercard, Visa/Delta and Visa Electron. 

Gift vouchers

You can pay for part or all of your tuition fees with OU gift vouchers. Vouchers are currently available in the following denominations, £10, £20, £50 and £100. 

Mixed payments

We know that sometimes you may want to combine payment options. You may, for example wish to pay part of your tuition fee with a debit card and pay the remainder in instalments through an Open University Student Budget Accounts (OUSBA).

For more information about combining payment options, speak to an adviser or request a call back.

Note: Your permanent address/domicile will affect your fee status and therefore the fees you are charged and any financial support available to you. The fees and funding information provided here is based upon current details for  year 1 August 2014 to 31 July 2015.
This information was provided on 23/08/2014.

What's included

A module text, module guide, bookmark and website.

You will need

It would be very helpful, but not compulsory, to have access to a scientific calculator – the recommended models are either the TI-83 Plus or TI-84 Plus.

You require access to the internet at least once a week during the module to download module resources and to keep up to date with module news. You will be expected to use a spreadsheet as part of the module.

You will also need a headset with microphone to make best use of the online tutorials.

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this module as it includes online activities, which you can access using a web browser.

  • If you have purchased a new desktop or laptop computer since 2008 you should have no problems completing the online activities.
  • If you’ve got a netbook, tablet or other mobile device check our Technical requirements section.
  • If you use an Apple Mac you will need OS X 10.7 or later.

You can also visit the Technical requirements section for further computing information (including details of the support we provide).

If you have a disability

The study materials are available in Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). Some Adobe PDF components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader and mathematical, scientific, and foreign language materials may be particularly difficult to read in this way.

This module may be very challenging if you have impaired sight. Diagrams and data tables are used extensively in the module, both in text and on computer screens, and you will be asked to interpret graphs. 

If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Find out more about our services for disabled students.