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Volume 2, Number 1 (July 1994) ISSN: 1069-1898

Margaret Mackisack, "What Is the Use of Experiments Conducted by Statistics Students?" (50K)

This paper describes a situation where systematic use is being made of data collected by students as part of a class project and advocates the wider use of such projects. The immediate learning benefits to the students involved in carrying out projects have been widely canvassed recently, and this paper reports some experiences with a particular type of project. Advantage is also taken of these projects as a source of material for problem-based learning in applied statistics at all levels, and some specific reasons for the potential importance of such material are advanced. --MM

Key Words: Linear models; Data analysis; Experimental design; Problem-based learning.

Joan B. Garfield, "Beyond Testing and Grading: Using Assessment to Improve Student Learning" (35K)

Changes in educational assessment are currently being called for, both within the fields of measurement and evaluation as well as in disciplines such as statistics. Traditional forms of assessment of statistical knowledge provide a method for assigning numerical scores to determine letter grades but rarely reveal information about how students actually understand and can reason with statistical ideas or apply their knowledge to solving statistical problems. As statistics instruction at the college level begins to change in response to calls for reform (e.g., Cobb 1992), there is an even greater need for appropriate assessment methods and materials to measure students' understanding of probability and statistics and their ability to achieve more relevant goals, such as being able to explore data and to think critically using statistical reasoning. This paper summarizes current trends in educational assessment and relates these to the assessment of student outcomes in a statistics course. A framework is presented for categorizing and developing appropriate assessment instruments and procedures. --JG

Key Words: Assessment; Testing; Evaluation; Student learning.

Mark Ferris and Don Hardaway, "Teacher 2000: A New Tool for Multimedia Teaching of Introductory Business Statistics" (19K)

This article explores the use of multimedia in an introductory business statistics course through a new computer vehicle called Teacher 2000. Traditional educational processes are reviewed and reinterpreted in light of technological advances in computing, video, and software. These advances provide new opportunities to educators. To highlight the potential of a multimedia approach in statistics, an example is developed that explains how professors and students might interact and use this new technology. Software developed by one of the authors is used to showcase multimedia potential. --MF

Key Words: Educational innovation; Computer integrated instruction; Multimedia software development; Making Statistics More Effective in Schools of Business.

Stephen Eckert, "Teaching Hypothesis Testing With Playing Cards: A Demonstration" (8K)

In elementary statistics courses, students often have difficulty understanding the principles of hypothesis testing. This paper discusses a simple yet effective demonstration using playing cards. The demonstration has been very useful in teaching basic concepts of hypothesis testing, including formulation of a null hypothesis, using data as evidence against the null hypothesis, and determining the strength of the evidence against the null hypothesis, i.e., the p-value. --SE

Nicholas P. Maxwell, "A Coin-Flipping Exercise to Introduce the P-Value" (12K)

The p-value can be introduced with a coin flipping exercise. The instructor flips a coin ten times and has a student call each flip. The students record their thoughts after each flip. The instructor reports that the caller calls every flip correctly. In this exercise students intuitively reject a null hypothesis because the p-value is too small. Students are reassured to learn from this concrete example that they intuitively followed the logic of statistical inference before they studied statistics. --NM

Teaching Bits: A Resource for Teachers of Statistics (28K)

This column features "bits" of information sampled from a variety of sources that may be of interest to teachers of statistics. Joan Garfield abstracts information from the literature on teaching and learning statistics, while Laurie Snell summarizes resources from the news and other media that may be used with students to provoke discussions or serve as a basis for classroom activities or student projects. --JG

James A. Hanley and Stanley H. Shapiro, "Sexual Activity and the Lifespan of Male Fruitflies: A Dataset That Gets Attention" (13K)

This dataset contains observations on five groups of male fruitflies -- 25 fruitflies in each group -- from an experiment designed to test if increased reproduction reduces longevity for male fruitflies. (Such a cost has already been established for females.) The five groups are: males forced to live alone, males assigned to live with one or eight interested females, and males assigned to live with one or eight non-receptive females. The observations on each fly were longevity, thorax length, and the percentage of each day spent sleeping. The structure of the experiment provokes lively discussion on experimental design and on contrasts, and gives students opportunities to understand and verbalize what we mean by the term "statistical interaction." Because the variable thorax length has a strong effect on survival, it is important to take it into account to increase the precision of between-group contrasts, even though it is distributed similarly across groups. The dataset can also be used to illustrate techniques of survival analysis. --JH

Key Words: Experiment; Longevity; Analysis of covariance; Regression; Precision; Survival analysis.

Lauren McIntyre, "Using Cigarette Data for an Introduction to Multiple Regression" (9K)

The CIGARETTE dataset contains measurements of weight and tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide content for 25 brands of domestic cigarettes. The dataset is useful for introducing the ideas of multiple regression and provides examples of an outlier and a pair of collinear variables. --LM

Key Words: Classroom data; Collinearity; Outlier.

Editorial Board for Volume 2, Number 1

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