At this stage of the game I have one son returning to high school and one out experiencing a gap year working for Americorp as a Vista in the wilds of the upper east side of Manhattan. Both spent formative years being educated in a Montessori curriculum and have rock solid educational skills. But neither of them possess a love of the maths.
I have my theories about math in general. We are taught so much about certainties in algebra, trigonometry, and geometry that we are robbed of the "what if" fun stuff that we use everyday. I always argued that if students were taught applications of mathematical concepts like risk and probabilities we would all be better for it.
Discussing data literacy in front of audiences requires precise definitions. For example, risk and uncertainty are not the same thing. When we discuss risk we are informed of the set of alternate possible outcomes--and we have probability theory and statistics to help us along.
But if we imagine uncertainty this reflects a larger scale where we can't possibly know every potential alternative or consequence we have to make estimates and rely on heuristics.
In a world of risk (small world), all relevant alternatives, their probabilities, and their consequences are known for sure and the future is certain. In contrast, in a world of uncertainty (large world) part of the information is unknown or has to be estimated from small samples, and surprises can happen.
Risk literacy speaks to the scarcity of opportunities to learn about uncertainty within our own disciplines. We are told to participate in mass disease screening, rely on phase II clinical research although limited in population size, accept the results of clinical articles regardless of intentional obfuscation.
Striving for improved data literacy continues to be an important goal within our healthcare ecosystem. How are you tackling the problem?
Medicine is a science of uncertainty and an art of probability--William Osler, Canadian physician and one of the four founding professors of Johns Hopkins Hospital