Statistical Education Members Compile a Great Program

John Holcomb
2002 Program Chair

Newsletter for the Section on Statistical Education
Volume 8, Number 2 (Summer 2002)

The JSM meetings in New York City will offer at least one session sponsored by the Section on Statistical Education in every time slot. This will indeed prove to be an exciting meeting! I want to acknowledge personally session organizers Van Bowen, Joan Garfield, Robert Carver, Dex Whittinghill, Jackie Miller, Chris Franklin, Milo Schield, Sterling Hilton, William Harkness, Thomas Short, Douglas Zahn, and Michael Kahn. It is a complicated task to invite an array of speakers or panelists and their efforts are appreciated! With so many sessions, several are scheduled on Sunday afternoon and Thursday morning. Thus I encourage everyone to plan on attending the entire conference if possible.

The excitement begins right away with an invited session on Sunday afternoon. I am very excited that Pat Hutchings from the Carnegie Academy for the Advancement of Teaching will speak along with ASA members Beth Chance, Joel Greenhouse, and discussant Thomas Short. This session will discuss the national movement where professors investigate in an organized and reflective way the learning taking place in their own classrooms. Speakers will discuss the national perspective regarding this movement as well as issues relating directly to statistics. The second invited session includes Roger Hoerl, Geoff Vining, Van Bowen, and discussant Jon Cryer speaking of the need to incorporate quality and six sigma methodologies, as well as communication skills, into college curriculums. The third invited session consists of a panel discussion with Joan Garfield, Roxy Peck, Chris Franklin, and Jackie Miller on building graduate programs in statistical education.

Along with the invited sessions, we have ten topic contributed sessions in store for JSM 2002. I am very excited that several of these sessions have invited our colleagues in mathematics to be panelists on the discussions. The first of these sessions consists of a discussion of "Mathematics, statistics, and quantitative literacy" organized by Jackie Miller. Dex Whittinghill has organized a session on "The role of undergraduate mathematics for statistics and vice versa." In addition, Chris Franklin organized the session, "The CBMS mathematics education of teachers report and preparing K-12 teachers to deliver statistical content." Of interest to high school AP teachers and teachers of introductory statistics will be the session "Experiences in Advanced Placement statistics" organized by Thomas Short.

Continuing in the teaching theme, we have an unusual session organized by Douglas Zahn, "Opening the door when we are teaching: the courage to teach in public." This session will discuss the book, "The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher's Life," by Palmer Parker that has swept through the education community at all levels across the country. I personally have started reading it. I think many in our membership who care about teaching will find this book of interest, and I personally have started reading it. In another session, panelists will discuss how and what to teach. This panel discussion is entitled, "Our toolbox is overflowing: toward a framework for mapping technologies and topics in introductory statistics" organized by Robert Carver.

In regard to introductory statistics, we have two sessions on large-scale studies of innovation in such a course. Sterling Hilton has organized a session entitled, "Results from a clinical trial: evaluating the effect of multimedia presentations on student learning and attitudes." In a similar vein, William Harkness organized the session, "The Penn State model for the intro stat course: a description and an assessment." One session concerns the need to use real data effectively. Michael Kahn has organized a session entitled, "Exemplary data sets and case studies for teaching" to address this need. Looking at the ways in which statistics is used is a theme for Milo Schield's session, "Statistical Literacy: Innovation, Outreach, and Application."

These topic contributed sessions form the backbone of the meeting and organizing them takes a great deal of effort. If you attend and enjoy any of those sessions, be sure to express your appreciation to the organizer during the meeting!

The meeting will also host four regular contributed sessions. These sessions look to be outstanding. One session entitled "Applications and consulting for student learning" will focus on teaching various statistical concepts using data arising from medical or biological examples. In the same session, a presentation will examine collaboration in other disciplines including having students work as consultants. Lastly, a presentation looks at computer adaptive testing. A second session entitled, "Innovation and evaluation in business and social science statistics education" will have presentations ranging from concrete examples to discussions of more conceptual ideas such as teaching communication skills. In addition, issues relating to the mathematical preparation of the students will be discussed. The third session, "Technology, assessment, impact, and chapter engagement," looks at assessment with and without technological tools. Other issues include grading issues and computerized tutoring, student retention, and a history of a chapter's engagement with government and educational bodies in its geographic area. The fourth regular contributed session, "Teaching teachers, majors, and beyond," focuses on issues often arising in upper level statistics/probability courses. Topics include innovation for probability mass functions, regression, experimental design, and Markov chains -- the last of which includes an application to ultimate Frisbee.

In addition, there are ten sessions organized by other sections that are co-sponsored by the Section on Statistical Education. To view all the session titles and times sponsored by the section, go to and scroll down to the query box for "Search by Sponsor" and select Section on Statistical Education. Also, André Lubecke has organized a great batch of roundtable luncheons that it is not too late to register for. As in the past with presentations sponsored by the Section on Statistical Education, choosing sessions will be difficult!

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