Data Smackdown

Winners of the Data Smackdown competition

We are thrilled to announce the results of the Data Smackdown competition! After careful deliberation and assessment, our panel of judges has selected the winners who will represent Malta in the upcoming European phase.

Category A: Post-Secondary

1st Place: NUGGETS, St Aloysius College 

2nd Place: STATGIRLS, G.F. Abela Junior College

3rd Place: STATCOMP, St Aloysius College


Category B: Secondary

1st Place: GAMMA, St Augustine College 

2nd Place: PARABOLA, St Martin’s College

3rd Place: MIKAEL, St Michael School, Santa Venera


Each participating team has showcased remarkable competence. As we move forward to the European phase, we are confident that our winners will represent Malta with the same level of excellence and enthusiasm. 

Once again, congratulations to our winners!

Overview of the Data Smackdown

Malta is participating for the first time in the European Statistics Competition (ESC) during 2024. This event is coordinated by Eurostat, the statistical agency of the European Union, with the primary objective of nurturing students’ curiosity and fascination for the field of statistics. The ESC is tailored for students in secondary and higher secondary education, aged 14-18 years, encouraging them to compete by solving statistical challenges, seeking out data, and crafting analytical solutions. Students will be split into two categories; Category A for those in higher secondary education aged 16-18 years and Category B for those in secondary education aged 14-16 years.

Beginning at the national level and subsequently progressing to the European stage, this competition encourages participating teams to collaborate and assess their theoretical knowledge. It also prompts them to develop an appreciation for data generated by official statistical sources, all while gaining a deeper understanding of the societal significance of statistics.

This competition takes place in two phases:

  • The national phase: for Malta this is organised by the National Statistics Office (NSO) and called Data Smackdown. Winners of this national competition will secure the opportunity to represent Malta in the European Statistics Competition of 2024, competing alongside winners from other National Statistics Institutes across Europe.
  • The European phase: organised by Eurostat: the two best teams of the two age categories will be able to participate in the European phase.
The general objectives of the European Statistics Competition are:

  • To promote curiosity and interest in statistics among students.
  • To encourage teachers to use new materials for teaching statistics by promoting the use of real data and search for applications of acquired statistical knowledge.
  • To show the role of statistics to students and teachers in various aspects of society, making it known as a university study.
  • To promote teamwork and collaboration to achieve common goals.
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Participation in the Data Smackdown will be divided into two categories:

  1. Category A, encompassing students in the first and second years of higher secondary born in years 2006-2008 (approximately 16-18 years old), and
  2. Category B, welcoming secondary school students born in years 2008-2010 (approximately 14-16 years old).

Students need to be studying at any officially recognized educational centre of Malta. Students will participate in teams of one to three pupils. All students of the team should belong to the same school and category. Each team should have a teacher from their centre acting as the tutor of the team, who will supervise their work.

There is no limitation on the number of participants / teams from the same centre nor on teams supervised by the same tutor.

Students are not allowed to participate in more than one team.

Participants in the Data Smackdown competition will take two eliminatory tests. Only those who pass both tests will be among the finalists of the Competition.

The first test will be done through a web form consisting of three components with closed questions. Those questions will have four possible answers of which only one will be the correct option.

The second test will consist of a presentation made in pdf format and needs to be sent in the way established hereinafter.

It will not be necessary to travel anywhere to take any of the two tests.

First test:

The first test will consist of three components:

a. Basic knowledge test

The goal is to answer 10 questions on understanding of basic statistical concepts, interpretation of graphs, basic probability etc.
A collection of questions with different level of difficulty will be prepared for each category.

b. Use of official statistical data sources test

The goal is to answer 10 questions on various statistical data. This will require navigation through the National Statistics Office’s website.

c. Interpretation of statistical reports test

The goal is to answer 10 questions about the Eurostat publication “SDGs and Me”. This publication will be available in English.

Second test:

Statistical research output

In this assignment, the teams will have to prepare an output from the exploitation of a dataset in Excel which will be facilitated by the NSO. The dataset will be comprehensive and will allow exploration of different facets of information at the choice of participants.

The results of the assignment will be presented in a PowerPoint presentation or in a similar format and should be printed as a pdf that includes the following sections:

  • Objectives of exploitation / analysis.
  • Method of work: tools used, techniques of information analysis, etc.
  • Results: tables, graphs, results of analysis, etc.
  • Conclusions

An initial slide will be included in the presentation indicating the name of the team, school, locality, and the category in which the team participates. The presentation in pdf format for the second assignment will have a total number of 15 slides maximum (including the initial slide with information on the team). Such pdf will be named with the exact name of the team, and will be uploaded on the platform within the deadline.

The jury will only evaluate the printable parts of the pdf file. Elements like links to external contents, embedded videos and the like will not be considered as a part of the assignment and therefore will not count for the evaluation.

The analysis will be limited to the specific dataset; no assignment will be accepted if analysis and exploitation of different databases are carried out nor those in which there have been an addition of complementary information. There are no restrictions on the software used for the exploitation of the database.

First test

Each of the three components of the first test will be evaluated in terms of success and failure, taking into account that a correct answer carries a point, an incorrect answer subtracts 0.33 points and a question without answer carries no points. The maximum grade for each of the three tests will be 10 points.

The result of the first assignment will be obtained by calculating the arithmetic mean, rounded to one decimal place, of the scores obtained in each of the three tests, and multiplying the result by 10, so that the final score for this assignment will be of 100 points maximum. The ranking of all participating teams will be determined in this way. At least a half of the teams will be eliminated after the first assignment.

The points obtained in the first assignment will be used to qualify teams for the second assignment. In addition, the score in the first assignment will be included in the calculation of the final grade with a weight of 25%.

The evaluation of the three components and the calculation of the final score for the first test will be automatically done by a program.

Those teams who pass the first test will receive a diploma.

Second test

The following aspects will be taken into account when evaluating the pdf file of the second test:

  • Output presentation (20%)
    • Output is structured in well differentiated parts
    • Presentation is clear and can be easily read
    • There are references to sources / bibliography
  • Objectives (20%)
    • The output has a clear objective
    • There are well defined secondary objectives
    • The interest in studying the proposed objectives is argued
    • Analysed data are appropriate to study the settled objectives
  • Information analysis (40%)
    • There is good balance among tables, graphs and central tendency indicators
    • Tables and graphs have comments so that the most relevant information is highlighted
    • Graphs are appropriate and help to reach, and support, the conclusion
    • Reasons to use each statistical indicator are explained
    • Performed analysis is in concordance with the educational level of the team
  • Conclusions (20%)
    • There is one conclusion per objective and a general conclusion as well
    • There are warnings about the limitation of the conclusions of the analysis (should these limitations exist)

The jury will select five best assignments in each category and evaluate them with up to 100 points. The score for the 2nd assignment will be included in the calculation of the final grade with a weight of 75%.

Final Score

The final score for the five assignments selected for each category will be obtained as the weighted average, with a maximum of three decimal places, of the scores obtained in the first and second assignments, by the following formula:

Final score = 0.25 * 1st test score + 0.75 * 2nd test score.

The winning team is the one that obtains the highest final score in each category. The other four teams from each category will be considered finalists of their respective categories.


The jury for the national phase will consist of four people, three from the NSO and one from the University of Malta.

The jury’s decision is final.

Communication of the jury’s decision and awards ceremony

The decision of the jury will be announced to the winner and finalists by e-mail and it will be published at on the date indicated by the NSO. An award giving ceremony will be held whereby the participating schools, the tutors of the winning team and the winning teams will be awarded the prizes.

Publication of presentations

The winning presentations of the second test would be announced on the NSO website, indicating the names of the teams, the school they come from and their category. The participants will accept these rules and allow the publication of their works. All materials presented at the national phase of the competition will be the property of, and therefore retained by, the National Statistics Office of Malta. These will not be returned to the students.

European phase of the European Statistics Competition 2024

The winning team and the finalists with the highest grade of each category will be eligible to participate in the European phase of the European Statistics Competition. The organisation of the national phase will contact the teams in due time to inform them about the European phase.

For this purpose, the jury will prepare a list with at most three teams per category sorted by the highest grade obtained in the national phase. The first team in the list will be the winner, followed by the two finalists. In case the proposed teams could not attend or refuse to participate in the European phase, the jury will contact the following team of the aforementioned list.

Further information and applicable rules for the European phase of the European Statistics Competition may be found on the dedicated website.

Topic of the video: Everything was better before! Truth or not?

Many people talk about the “good old days,” where everything was, according to them, better than it is now. There is this nostalgia of the past, which is often paired with a negative or fearful view of the present, and the future.
Are these statements true? Were things truly better in the past? Use official statistical data to proof or disproof this claim in your country and optionally compare it to other EU countries.

How can you use Official Statistics to answer this question?

You can approach the topic the way you like, but here are some pointers that may help you:

  • You can use official statistics to create a picture of the past and compare it to how things are now. You can also use official forecasts or even AI to simulate what things will be like in the future for your country. According to this, were things better before?
  • You can focus on a single given topic such as for example environmental economics, the labour market, life expectancy, etc. Were things better than they are now?

Combine objective and subjective topics to answer the main question. Note that when you are drawing up your comparisons, you can also make suggestions, based on statistical data, on improvements for the future. Make sure to include examples and data in your video.

Reservation of rights

The National Statistics Office reserves the right to change the terms and conditions of the national phase of the ESC, especially the dates announced in the calendar, or even its possible cancellation, whenever there is justified cause. These modifications would be made public at

Acceptance of the rules of the national phase of the ESC

Participation in the national phase of the European Statistics Competition (ESC) assumes the acceptance of all these rules.


The winning teams of the Data Smackdown, one from the Category A and one from the Category B, will receive the following prizes:

  • For all participating schools

A participation award 

  • For the school of the winning team

A €300 voucher to be spent on educational material and books.

  • For the tutor of the winning team

A trophy, a €150 gift voucher and a number of statistical publications.

  • For each student of the winning team

A trophy, a €200 gift voucher, a number of statistical publications and promotional material.

In case of having two winning teams with the same tutor, the latter will only receive one trophy.

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Tutors of teams wishing to participate in the NSO Data Smackdown Competition must register the teams online by clicking the “Register Now!” Button. The registration must include all the information requested in the form.

Participants can send their questions by email to [email protected].

Registration deadline: 19 January 2024


25 October 2023 to 19 January 2024


Registration period

25 October 2023 to 19 January 2024

16 January to 31 January 2024

First test

Period for the first test

16 January to 31 January 2024

2 February 2024

Results of first test

Publication and communication of the results of the first test

2 February 2024

5 February to 29 February 2024

Second test

Submission of the second test

5 February to 29 February 2024

20 March 2024


Announcement of winning teams

20 March 2024

15 April 2024


Award giving ceremony

15 April 2024

13 May 2024

European submission

Deadline for winners to submit video to Eurostat

13 May 2024

6 June 2024

European winners

Announcement of the winners of the European phase

6 June 2024

To be announced later

European Awards

European phase award giving ceremony

To be announced later

Co-funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Commission.

Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.

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