Newsletter for the Section on Statistical Education
Volume 3, Number 1 (Winter 1997)
This year for the first time students will be applying to colleges and universities with AP Statistics credit. Colleges and universities that award either credit or placement for AP courses need to start thinking about their policy for AP Statistics. The fact that statistics is often offered by several departments makes this an issue that is somewhat different from that usually encountered when a new AP course is offered and may provide an opportunity to discuss the AP Statistics course with colleagues in other disciplines.
The first AP Statistics examination comes at a time when The College Board is undertaking a comparability study. This involves college and university students taking an examination that comprises a subset of the questions on the AP examination. This study thus provides a way of directly comparing their performance with that of the high school students who write the AP examination. Several thousand college and university students will be involved. Their papers will be graded with the AP examinations at a reading that will take place on June 8-13, 1997 at the College of New Jersey. If you are interested in applying to be a reader for this examination, application forms are available from Pam Esbrandt at Educational Testing Service, Princeton NJ 08541; (609) 734-1127.
This year the ASA has started offering a membership for schools. Advertisements have appeared in Amstat News and other publications. The suggestion has been made that ASA members take this opportunity to give an ASA membership to their local school. This is also an ideal time to make teachers aware of the AP Statistics Course. There are two publications, "The Advanced Placement Course Description -- Statistics" (IN-201694) and "Teacher's Guide to the Advanced Placement Course in Statistics" (IN number not yet available) that are both available from: Advanced Placement Program, P.O. Box 6670, Princeton NJ 08541-6670; (609) 771-7243. The Course Description, published in May 1996, includes the AP Statistics course outline and discusses the examination, giving sample questions and solutions. The Teacher's Guide, which will be available in April 1997, provides advice on how to go about offering an AP Statistics course. It also includes examples of scoring rubrics, sample syllabi, and a list of recommended resources for teaching the course.
Beyond making teachers aware of the AP Statistics Course, there may also be the opportunity to provide support for any teacher who decides to teach the course. Two of the most commonly asked questions are "What textbook should I choose?" and "What software should I choose?" Having someone who can give knowledgeable advice about these and other questions is invaluable.
One of the major issues for AP Statistics is the need for teacher training. A number of AP Statistics workshops were offered last summer, often through the Regional Offices of The College Board. Other initiatives, for example the Teachers Teaching with Technology workshops in AP Statistics, will offer workshops in 1997. These workshops are typically conducted by two instructors, a statistician and a high school teacher. It is important that college teachers support the training and preparation of AP Statistics teachers. Please consider how you can help make statistics education more effective at this level. If you are interested in running your own AP Statistics workshop, the ASA's Center for Statistical Education is keeping a list of high school teachers who are qualified to lead a workshop. You should also gain the approval of the Regional College Board Office so that it becomes an "official" AP Statistics workshop.
Teachers and others can communicate with each other through the AP Statistics list by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Leave the topic line blank and in the body of the message type: subscribe apstat-l <your email address> The College Board Online also has information on AP Statistics on its home page: http://www.collegeboard.org.
Editors' Note: An article entitled "The Road to Advanced Placement in Statistics" which describes the activities that have taken place in the San Antonio, Texas area appeared in the Spring 1996 (#44) issue of LINK. Contact Joe Ward at email@example.com for further information.