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Volume 20 (2012)

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An International Journal on the Teaching and Learning of Statistics

JSE Volume 20, Number 2 Abstracts

W. John Braun
Naive Analysis of Variance

The Analysis of Variance is often taught in introductory statistics courses, but it is not clear that students really understand the method. This is because the derivation of the test statistic and p-value requires a relatively sophisticated mathematical background which may not be well-remembered or understood. Thus, the essential concept behind the Analysis of Variance can be obscured. On the other hand, it is possible to provide students with a graphical technique that makes the essential concept transparent. The technique discussed in this article can be understood by students with little or no background in probability or statistics. In fact, only the ability to add, subtract, compute averages, and interpret histograms is required.

Key Words: Data visualization; Graphical ANOVA; Resampling.

Robert E. Burks and Michael J. Jaye
The Price is Right Again

The Price Is Right (TPIR) provides a wealth of material for studying statistics at various levels of mathematical sophistication. The authors have used elements of this show to motivate students from undergraduate probability and statistics courses to graduate level executive management courses. The material consistently generates a high degree of student engagement and lively discussion. This paper describes one classroom activity to help reinforce basic probability and statistics concepts and their potential use in decision making.

Key Words: Discrete Probability Distribution; Binomial.

Jamis J. Perrett
A Case Study on Teaching the Topic "Experimental Unit" and How it is Presented in Advanced Placement Statistics Textbooks

This article demonstrates how textbooks differ in their description of the term experimental unit. Advanced Placement Statistics teachers and students are often limited in their statistical knowledge by the information presented in their classroom textbook. Definitions and descriptions differ among textbooks as well as among different editions of the same textbook. Furthermore, many schools use older editions of textbooks rather than current editions that contain updated information and thus lose the benefit of improved discussions and clarifications. Advanced Placement Statistics teachers should be aware of this issue and seek additional training through workshops, additional textbooks, and webinars to increase and strengthen their knowledge and understanding of key statistical concepts. Textbook authors should be aware of teachers' dependence on the authors' presentation of topics and ensure that key topics like experimental unit are covered thoroughly. This article considers three prior Advanced Placement Statistics exam questions to illustrate how different Advanced Placement Statistics textbooks may have influenced students' answers based on the textbooks' authors' treatment of experimental unit.

Key Words: Unit of analysis; Teacher preparation; College Board.

Svetlana Tishkovskaya and Gillian A. Lancaster
Statistical Education in the 21st Century: a Review of Challenges, Teaching Innovations and Strategies for Reform

Over the past few decades there has been a large amount of research dedicated to the teaching of statistics. The impact of this research has started to change course content and structure, in both introductory and advanced courses for statisticians and those from other disciplines. In the light of these changes future directions in the teaching and learning of statistics must take into account new innovative pedagogical instructions, educational technologies and the abundance of Web resources that are now available. This article examines different aspects of currently identified challenges in the teaching and learning of statistics and gives an overview of useful strategies and innovations for developing research-based statistics courses in the context of recommendations for reforms, outlining the place of information technology within this framework. The article presents a review of the literature on the topic of statistics education and gives instructors a set of guidelines for generating new and effective teaching material. The summarised recommendations incorporate many innovations employed in a variety of successful statistics classes today. The review is complemented by a collection of statistics related online resources currently available on the Web.

Key Words: Statistics education; Technological innovation; Teaching and learning statistics; Statistical literacy; Web resources.

Jacqueline Wroughton and Joseph Nolan
Pinochle Poker: An Activity for Counting and Probability

Understanding counting rules is challenging for students; in particular, they struggle with determining when and how to implement combinations, permutations, and the multiplication rule as tools for counting large sets and computing probability. We present an activity - using ideas from the games of poker and pinochle - designed to help students solidify and expand upon counting techniques while also promoting critical thinking in the classroom. While this activity has been used in college level courses, we believe it would also be applicable in a high school discrete mathematics class or in any probability course having substantial emphasis on these topics. We present and discuss the activity including desired learning outcomes, rationale, opportunities for teachable moments, and potential follow-up assignments.

Key Words: Combinations; Multiplication Rule; Poker; Probability; Permutations.

Interviews with Statistics Educators

Allan Rossman and Roxy Peck
Interview with Roxy Peck

Roxy Peck is Associate Dean Emerita and Professor Emerita of Statistics at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. She is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association and a recipient of ASA’s Founders Award. She received the USCOTS Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009. The following interview took place via email on May 7, 2012 – July 8, 2012.

Teaching Bits

Audbjorg Bjornsdottir and Joan Garfield
Teaching Bits: Statistics Education Articles from 2012

We located 23 articles that have been published from January 2012 through July 2012 that pertained to statistics education. In this column, we highlight a few of these articles that represent a variety of different journals that include statistics education in their focus. We also provide information about the journal and a link to their website so that abstracts of additional articles may be accessed and viewed.

Michelle Everson and Ellen Gundlach
Teaching Bits: What's New with CAUSEweb and MERLOT?

In each issue of JSE, we like to highlight new activities and resources from CAUSEweb ( and MERLOT(

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