Competence Development: Data Literacy and Statistics

Committee Chair: Prof. Dr. Christine Buchholz
Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg
Vice-Chair: Katharina Schüller
STAT-UP Statistical Consulting & Data Science GmbH
New Election: Fall 2025


Tasks, Goals and Contents:

Statistics in the higher education context

The committee is concerned with the many facets of education and training in statistics. It encompasses the subject-specific activities at educational institutions, such as general education schools, universities, and other scientific and vocational institutions. It includes the discussion and further development of curricula – also in international comparison – as well as the didactic design of statistics teaching. This also includes current aspects of the digitalization of teaching and the associated development of digital teaching-learning and examination concepts. In this context, the development and provision of OER learning materials that can also be offered outside of universities is also important.

Central topics for scientific statistics education are the content and formal standards for bachelor’s and master’s programs in statistics, which in turn ensure a generally accepted level of education with different focus areas at the various universities.

In addition, an important issue is statistics and data literacy education in the minor in non-statistics courses, where data play an increasing role and statistical content is therefore an important tool for practicing the respective science. Here, there are special requirements for the didactic and methodological approaches.


Data Literacy

Data literacy encompasses the data skills that are important for all people in a world shaped by digitization. It is an indispensable part of general education. Data literacy includes the skills to collect, manage, evaluate, and apply data in a critical way. If data is to support decision-making processes, it requires competent answers to four fundamental questions:

  • What do I want to do with data? Data and data analysis are not an end in themselves, but serve a concrete application in the real world.
  • What can I do with data? Data sources and their quality as well as the state of technical and methodological developments open up possibilities and set limits.
  • What am I allowed to do with data? All legal rules of data use (for example, data protection, copyrights, and licensing issues) must always be considered.
  • What should I do with data? Because data is a valuable resource, a normative claim derives from it to use it for the benefit of individuals and society.
  • The supporters of the charter see data literacy as a central competence of all people in the 21st century. It is the key to systematically transforming data into knowledge.

Data literacy enables people, companies, and scientific institutions, as well as governmental or civil society organizations, to

  • actively participate in opportunities for data use;
  • deal confidently and responsibly with their own and others’ data;
  • use new drivers and technologies such as Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, or Internet of Things to meet individual needs, address societal challenges, and solve global problems.

Data literacy strengthens judgment, self-determination and a sense of responsibility, and promotes the social and economic participation of all of us in a world shaped by digitalization.

The “Competence Development: Data Literacy and Statistics” committee of the German Statistical Society is developing concepts for disseminating this understanding of data literacy and further strengthening the associated competencies, especially from the perspective of statistics. This is done by diagnosing the most common errors and fallacies that occur in everyday statistical thinking, combined with suggestions on how to avoid these fallacies (for example, by arguing with absolute numbers instead of proportions and probabilities, or by means of intelligent data graphics), and especially by making suggestions on how to promote the understanding of statistics in general. Here, psychology and statistics go hand in hand. Within the framework of the Statistical Week, the committee regularly exchanges its experiences in lectures and discussions. It also maintains a lively exchange with the creators of the Unstatistics of the Month and other Internet platforms in which statistical falsehoods spread by the media are addressed and corrected.


Topic Selection:

  • Statistics majors
  • Statistics and data literacy as a minor subject in bachelor and master degree programs
  • University didactics in statistics and data literacy
  • Digital statistical teaching-learning formats, flipping classroom concepts, OER materials
  • Competency-based examination formats in statistics
  • Statistical methodological needs in applied research
  • Multimedia and internet – apps and eLearning in statistics education, OER materials
  • Requirements of professional practice for statistics education
  • Statistical content in secondary school, vocational education, and continuing education
  • Sources of statistical data in teaching and research


Founding Notice:

The committee was established under the name of “Education and Training” as early as 1948 as part of the reestablishment of the German Statistical Society.