College of Education and Human Development

Department of Educational Psychology

Joan Garfield

  • Professor Emeritus, CEHD Distinguished Teaching Award

Joan Garfield

Areas of interest

  • Improving student learning of statistics

PhD, University of Minnesota


Joan Garfield has combined her teaching and research interests into one focus: exploring how to improve student learning of statistics. Over the years, Garfield and her studies have explored and studied ways to help students successfully learn to think and reason with statistical information.

Throughout her career, Garfield continually experimented with alternative methods of teaching statistics and assessing student learning and disseminate what we have learned through presentations, workshops and publications.

Starting in 2002, Garfield began to offer a unique new area of concentration in statistics education that includes coursework on teaching statistics as well as on current   research on teaching and learning statistics, along with her colleagues Robert delMas, Andrew Zieffler, and Michelle Everson. The group met often with the students in regular seminars and funded research or curriculum development projects and was awarded the 2007 APA Innovative Practices in Graduate Education in Psychology Award for this program in statistics education.

Garfield has worked to help other universities start graduate courses and programs in statistics education and co-chaired a report on this topic (see

As co-founder and co-chair (with Dani Ben-Zvi at University of Haifa, Israel) of the International Research Forums on Statistical Reasoning, Thinking and Literacy (SRTL),, Garfield worked with international researchers on research questions of common interest.  

Garfield co-chaired the GAISE Project (Guidelines for Assessment and Instruction in Statistics Education), funded by the American Statistical Association (ASA) which resulted in a set of approved guidelines, see She served as Associate Director for Research for CAUSE (Consortium for the Advancement of Undergraduate Statistics Education).  See the Research pages on

She worked with the statistics education group at the University of Minnesota on the CATALST project (Change Agents for Teaching and Learning Statistics), a collaborative NSF-funded project that is designed, implemented, and evaluated a radically different approach to teaching statistics.

Awards and honors include:

  • Fellow, American Educational Research Association (2009)
  • USCOTS 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award
  • University of Minnesota Graduate-Professional Teaching Award for outstanding contributions to post baccalaureate, graduate, and professional education (2006)
  • American Statistical Association Founders Award (2005)
  • College of Education and Human Development Distinguished Teaching Award (2002)
  • Fellow, American Statistical Association (2001)
  • U of M Technology Enhanced Learning Award (1998)
  • U of M Morse-Alumni Distinguished Teaching Award (1995)

Garfield has been an elected member of the International Statistical Institute and am Associate Editor of the Statistics Educational Research Journal (SERJ) and Technology Innovations in Statistical Education (TISE).


Garfield, J., & Ben-Zvi, D. (2008).  Developing Students’ Statistical Reasoning Research and Teaching Practice.  Springer Publishers. .

Zieffler, A., & Garfield, J. (in press).  Modeling the growth of students covariational reasoning during an introductory statistics course.  Statistics Education Research Journal.

Garfield, J & Ben-Zvi, D. (in press).  Helping students develop statistical reasoning:  Implementing a statistical reasoning learning environment.  Teaching Statistics.

Garfield, J. & delMas, R. (in press).  A website that provides resources for assessing students’ statistical literacy, reasoning, and thinking.  Teaching Statistics.

Zieffler, A., Garfield, J., delMas, R., and Reading, C. (2008).  A framework to support research on informal inferential reasoning.  Statistics Education Research Journal, 7(2), 40-58.

Everson, M.G., & Garfield, J. (2008).  An innovative approach to teaching online statistics courses.  Technology Innovations in Statistics Education, 2(1). 

Ben-Zvi, D., & Garfield, J. (2008).  Introducing the emerging discipline of statistics education.  School Science and Mathematics, 108, 355-361.

Ooms, A., & Garfield, J.  (2008). A model to evaluate online educational resources in statistics.  Technology Innovations in Statistics Education Journal 2(1).

Zieffler, A., Garfield, J., Alt, S., Dupuis, D., Holleque, K., & Chang, B.  (2008)  What does research suggest about the teaching and learning of introductory statistics at the college level?  A review of literature.  Journal of Statistics Education, 16(2).

Roseth, C.J., Garfield, J.B., & Ben-Zvi, D. (2008).  Collaboration in learning and teaching statistics.  Journal of Statistics Education 16(1).

Everson, M., Zieffler, A., & Garfield, J. (2008).  Implementing new reform guidelines in teaching introductory college statistics courses.  Teaching Statistics, 30(3), 66-70.

Garfield, J., & Ben-Zvi, D.  (2007). How students learn statistics revisited:  A current review of research on teaching and learning statistics.  International Statistical Review, 75(3) 372-396.

delMas, R., Garfield, J., Ooms, A., & Chance, B. (2007).  Assessing students’ conceptual understanding after a first course in statistics.  Statistics Education Research Journal, 6(2), 28-58.

Chance, B., Ben-Zvi, D., Garfield, J., & Medina, E.  (2007, October).  The role of technology in improving student learning of statistics.  Technology Innovations in Statistics Education Journal, 1(1).

Garfield, J., & Ben-Zvi, D.  (2005).  A framework for teaching and assessing reasoning about variability.  Statistics Education Research Journal, 4(1), 92-99.