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Volume 3, Number 2 (July 1995) ISSN: 1069-1898

Carolyn M. Keeler and R. Kirk Steinhorst, "Using Small Groups to Promote Active Learning in the Introductory Statistics Course: A Report from the Field" (28K)

Over several semesters, we changed from the traditional lecture approach to cooperative learning. After some initial difficulty, we found procedures that work in classes of 40 to 100 students. Data consist of final grade distributions, the number of students retained in the class, and responses on a questionnaire that asked students' attitudes towards the group activities. Working in cooperative groups resulted in higher final scores in two experimental sections than in a comparison course section. A higher percentage of students successfully completed the course in the experimental sections, and student attitudes toward the cooperative group experience were positive. --CMK

Key Words: Cooperative learning; Teaching statistics.

Allan J. Rossman and Thomas H. Short, "Conditional Probability and Education Reform: Are They Compatible?" (23K)

We demonstrate that one can teach conditional probability in a manner consistent with many features of the statistics education reform movement. Presenting a variety of applications of conditional probability to realistic problems, we propose that interactive activities and the use of technology make conditional probability understandable, interactive, and interesting for students at a wide range of levels of mathematical ability. Along with specific examples, we provide guidelines for implementation of the activities in the classroom and instructional cues for promoting curiosity and discussion among students. --AJR

Key Words: Bayes' Theorem; Active learning; Technology.

Eric R. Sowey, "Teaching Statistics: Making It Memorable" (28K)

An overriding goal of teaching is to stimulate learning that lasts. A way to achieve this is, surely, to make teaching memorable. By asking "what makes teaching memorable?", this paper identifies a number of fundamental characteristics of statistics teaching that will assist students in long-term retention of ideas. It structures these attributes of memorable statistics teaching and then shows, with examples, how they can be realised. The author's reflection on his extensive teaching experience underpins this paper. --ERS

Key Words: Deep learning; Long-term learning.

Bruce E. Trumbo, "Some Demonstration Programs for Use in Teaching Elementary Probability and Statistics: Parts 3 and 4" (60K)

In this second paper of a series, two programs for EGA-equipped IBM-PC compatible machines are included with indications of their pedagogical uses in the teaching of elementary probability and statistics. Concepts illustrated include the coefficient of correlation, the expectation of a discrete distribution, the concept of a fair game, and the hypergeometric distribution. Three datasets useful for illustrating correlation are also documented and appended. --BET

Key Words: Bivariate normal distribution; Correlation; Expectation; Hypergeometric distribution; Gambling; Keno; Pedagogy; Simulation.

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 articles 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

W. John Braun, "An Illustration of Bootstrapping Using Video Lottery Terminal Data" (18K)

The video lottery terminal dataset contains observations on the three windows of an electronic slot machine for 345 plays together with the prize paid out for each play. The prize payout distribution is so badly skewed that confidence intervals for expected payout based on the central limit theorem are not accurate. This dataset can be used at the graduate or upper undergraduate level to illustrate parametric bootstrapping. The dataset can also be used in a graduate course to illustrate tests of independence for two and three-way contingency tables involving random zeroes, or these tables may be collapsed and used as examples in an introductory course.

Key Words: Simulation; Contingency tables; Elementary probabilities.

Mary Rouncefield, "The Statistics of Poverty and Inequality" (10K)

This paper describes a case study based on data taken from the U.N.E.S.C.O. 1990 Demographic Year Book and The Annual Register 1992 giving birth rates, death rates, life expectancies, and Gross National Products for 97 countries. Suggested activities include exploratory graphical analyses to answer several central questions. These include an investigation into the wealth and life expectancies of different country groups and their population growth. Inequalities in the life experiences of different groups become readily apparent. Students are stimulated to generate their own questions and to find possible solutions. --MR

Key Words: Boxplot; Scatterplot; Life expectancy; Population growth.

Thomas H. Short, Helene Moriarty, and Mary E. Cooley, "Readability of Educational Materials for Patients with Cancer" (15K)

The American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute both develop pamphlets and booklets to inform patients with cancer and their families about the nature and treatment of the illness. Written materials are often given to patients to reinforce verbal instructions, or in some cases, given in place of verbal instructions. Unfortunately, published materials may be written at a reading level that is difficult for many patients to understand.

The data presented here represent the readabilities of 30 booklets about cancer and the reading levels of 63 patients with cancer. A number of elementary but important statistical issues must be resolved before conclusions can be drawn. To analyze the data, students must be familiar with the notions of scales of measurement, data reduction, measuring center, constructing and interpreting displays, and reaching conclusions in real problems. --THS

Key Words: Ordinal data; Means; Medians; Histograms.

Editorial Board for Volume 3, Number 2

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