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Volume 5, Number 1 (March 1997) ISSN: 1069-1898

Ruth Hubbard, "Assessment and the Process of Learning Statistics" (27K)

Because assessment drives student learning, it can be used as a powerful tool to encourage students to adopt deep rather than surface learning strategies. Many standard assessment questions tend to reinforce the memorisation of procedures rather than the understanding of concepts. To counteract this trend, some techniques for constructing questions that test understanding of concepts and that address specific goals of statistical education are described and illustrated with examples. --RH

Key Words: Assessment goals; Memorising procedures; Assessing understanding.

Carl James Schwarz and Jason Sutherland, "An On-Line Workshop Using a Simple Capture-Recapture Experiment to Illustrate the Concepts of a Sampling Distribution" (28K)

We describe a World Wide Web-accessible workshop designed for students in an introductory statistics course that uses a capture-recapture experiment to illustrate the concept of a sampling distribution. In addition to the usual "sampling bowl" experiment, the workshop contains a computer simulation program written in XLISP-STAT that will allow students to further investigate the properties of the estimator. --CJS

Key Words: Teaching statistics; Statistics education; World Wide Web material; XLISP-STAT.

Jeffrey S. Simonoff, "The `Unusual Episode' and a Second Statistics Course" (23K)

Dawson (1995) described a dataset giving population at risk and fatalities for an unusual mortality episode (the sinking of the ocean liner Titanic), and discussed experiences in using the dataset in an introductory statistics course. In this paper the same dataset is analyzed from the point of view of the second statistics course. A combination of exploratory analysis using tables of observed survival percentages, model building using logistic regression, and careful thought allows the statistician (and student) to get to the essence of the random process described by the data. The well-known nature of the episode gives the students a chance at determining its character, and the data are complex enough to require sophisticated modeling methods to get at the truth. --JSS

Key Words: Classroom exercise; Logistic regression; Model building; Survival data.

Lena Zetterqvist, "Statistics for Chemistry Students: How to Make a Statistics Course Useful by Focusing on Applications" (43K)

By putting emphasis on applications in two basic statistics courses for chemistry students and chemical engineering students we have enhanced student motivation and increased student activity. In addition to a traditional in-class exam, the students complete a take-home project where statistical problems relevant to chemists are discussed. We give several examples of the course and project material. The main difference between the two courses is that the first is optional, attracting approximately 15 students, while the second is compulsory with approximately 100 students. We discuss how the different requirements affect the learning situation and how separate strategies of teaching have to be developed for the small class and large class situations, respectively. --LZ

Key Words: Take-home projects; Small class versus large class situation.

"Teaching Bits: A Resource for Teachers of Statistics" (39K)

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 Bill Peterson 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

Editorial Board for Volume 5, Number 1

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