Volume 8, Number 1 (March 2000)
This article describes the evaluation of the teaching
of statistical inference in a first statistics class. A
sample survey project is described as a means of assessing
the effectiveness of a Bayesian approach in communicating
the basis tenets of inference. There are several
advantages of the Bayes viewpoint in performing this survey
project, including the explicit modeling of one's prior
opinion by means of a probability distribution and the
relative ease in reporting statistical conclusions. Some
evidence is presented to show that students with sufficient
knowledge can accurately specify probability distributions.
The success of the survey project is evaluated, and
changes to the structure of the project are described that
facilitate the interaction of the instructor with the
students. JA
Key Words: Bayesian inference; Interval estimation; Prior distributions; Proportion inference.
An approach used to assess project team work in a
condensed (halfterm) elective course is discussed. The
instructor's evaluation method signals appropriate course
goals to students. The scheme described encourages student
groups to prepare presentations that will be attractive to
people who will evaluate their work in the real world.
Colleague comments determine onehalf of each student's
course grade. Students are randomly selected to lead the
presentations, ensuring that all students are thoroughly
involved in the process (including assessment). A report
on the projects (and comments) completed by Masters of
Business Administration (MBA) students at a midwestern
school of management is provided, along with the inventory
used to assess each team's work. TEL
Key Words: Cooperative learning;
Management education; Projects; Regression; Short courses;
Teams.
The use of tangible examples can make the concepts of
statistical sampling and survey design more meaningful for
college students. These concepts are especially relevant
with the advent of the 2000 Census and the debate over its
use of statistical sampling.
In this paper, basic ideas from survey design are
introduced using the 2000 Census as an example, in order to
capitalize on the recent media attention. Then, these same
concepts are applied to the National Health Interview
Survey (NHIS). Data for the 1993 NHIS can be accessed
through the National Center for Health Statistics web site
and simple analyses can be performed over the web to
demonstrate the use of sampling weights. In addition,
subsets of the data can be downloaded and analyzed using
statistical software packages.
The methods of statistical sampling and the structure of
a national survey have a variety of applications in the
classroom, depending on the level of the course being
taught. This paper discusses some of these applications and
how to access and use these data as an effective teaching
tool. RMS
Key Words: Sampling frame; Stratification; Survey design.
The paper reports on a twoyear investigation into the
feasibility of allocating three weeks of an undergraduate
calculusbased probability course to statistics. This
brief introduction to statistics would take the place of a
course, thus constituting the students' only exposure to
statistical science. At first glance, the request seemed
quite reasonable. Statistical inference is based on
probability, and statistical inference could be presented
as an application of probability. Besides introducing some
statistical concepts, it was hoped to enhance understanding
of probability by highlighting this connection. However,
it was not possible for the students to learn anything
meaningful about statistical science in three weeks. In
addition, any enhancements to the learning of probability
were not significant enough to warrant the omission of
material from that course. LAT
Key Words: Binary data; Deductive
reasoning; Inductive reasoning; Probability vs.
statistics; Statistical thinking.
Given the emphasis on utilizing the computer in many
statistics courses, we discuss how we have
implemented microcomputer task based testing in our
courses. Background information is provided about a
required, undergraduate, multiple section course, and why
we believe computerbased testing is an effective
evaluation instrument. Issues of examination design,
administration, and evaluation are presented. Examples of
problems used in computerbased exams are also included. SAT
Key Words: Examinations;
Microcomputer task based testing;
Student performance evaluation.
This column features "bits" of information
sampled from a variety of sources that may be of
interest
to teachers of statistics. Bob delMas
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 8, Number 1
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