Newsletter of the Stat Ed Section - V3 N1

Newsletter of the Section on Statistical Education Section of the American Statistical Association


Contents of Volume 3 Number 1:

  • Message from the Section Chair
  • Subscription Information
  • Editors
  • Attention K-12 School Members
  • Newsletter Now "Surfable" on the Web
  • Short Announcements
  • "Spotlight on Bob Hogg" by Sherry Wasserstein
  • "Section on Statistical Education Plans for 1997 Joint Meetings" by Roxy Peck
  • "Advanced Placement Statistics - How to Get Involved" by Rosemary Roberts
  • "Mu Sigma Rho and the College Bowl" by Don Edwards
  • "Informal Survey of Academic Program Representatives on College and University Statistics Course Requirements" by W.J. Padgett
  • "Introductory Statistical Education: Radical Redesign is Needed, or is it?" by Roger W. Hoerl
  • "Assessment in Statistics Courses: A One-Day Conference for Teachers of Statistics"
  • "The Fifth International Conference on Teaching Statistics"
  • "Midwest Conference on Teaching Statistics"
  • "Elementary Statistics Laboratory Workshop"
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    MESSAGE FROM THE SECTION CHAIR

    Jackie Dietz
    North Carolina State University
    By the time you read this, my term as 1997 Chair of the Section on Statistical Education will have begun. I look forward to this year with both anticipation and a little trepidation. I am honored to have been given this opportunity to serve the Section, and I take seriously my responsibility to help the Section have a productive year.

    The more involvement there is from the Section's members, the more we will accomplish this year. Please contact me with your ideas for initiatives that we might undertake. Here are some specific ways that you can become involved now.

    1. We have a Section home page on the World Wide Web, accessible from the ASA home page (http://www.amstat.org/). Please send me your comments and your ideas for additional information that we should include.
    2. The Section is allocated a page in every issue of the Amstat News. Please send me your ideas for possible articles. You could even volunteer to write an article!
    3. This wonderful newsletter is the result of hard work by Carol Joyce Blumberg, Joan Garfield, and Tom Moore; Tom Short does an excellent job preparing a World Wide Web version that is available from our home page. I know that they would appreciate your feedback and your ideas for announcements and articles.
    4. Roxy Peck is the Section Program Chair for the 1997 Joint Statistical Meetings in Anaheim. Make plans now to attend the meetings and participate in Stat Ed sessions and activities. See the article "Section on Statistical Education Plans for 1997 Joint Meetings" for more details.
    5. Jerry Moreno will be the Section Program Chair for the 1998 Joint Statistical Meetings in Dallas. Send him your ideas for invited paper sessions; organize a special contributed paper session. Jerry will also be organizing the Roundtable Luncheons for the 1997 meetings in Anaheim. Contact him before February 5 with your ideas for luncheon topics. See the article "Section on Statistical Education Plans for 1997 Joint Meetings" for more details.
    6. Buy a School Membership in the ASA for a local school. For a $50 annual membership fee, your school will receive subscriptions to the Statistics Teacher Network newsletter, CHANCE magazine, and STATS magazine; member rates at meetings; brochures; and other goodies.
    7. Work with a child on an entry for the American Statistics Poster Competition or the American Statistics Team Project Competition. Entries are due by April 15. Please encourage your local school to participate. Brochures and application forms may be obtained from ASA by contacting veronica@amstat.org. (A couple of years ago, my son won an honorable mention in the poster competition!)

    Please send me your feedback on current initiatives and activities of the Section and your ideas for future projects. I can be reached at:

    Department of Statistics
    Box 8203
    North Carolina State University
    Raleigh NC 27695-8203
    (919) 515-1929
    Fax: (919) 515-7591
    dietz@stat.ncsu.edu.

    I look forward to working with you this year toward our common goal of improving the teaching and learning of statistics.

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    SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION


    Hard copy
    All members of the Section on Statistical Education are automatically sent a hard copy of this newsletter. Other ASA members can receive a hard copy by joining the Section on Statistical Education the next time they renew their ASA memberships (Dues are only $3.00). Non-members of ASA may receive a hard copy by sending $8.00 along with Name, Complete Mailing Address (if within the U.S.A. please include your 9-digit zip code), Telephone, Fax, and e-mail address to:
    Marie Argana
    American Statistical Association
    732 North Washington Street
    Alexandria VA 22314-1943.

    Electronic
    If you wish to receive the newsletter via email contact Carol Joyce Blumberg at wncarolj@vax2.winona.msus.edu. Please make sure to include your name and complete e-mail address in your message. All issues of the newsletter are also available on the World Wide Web at: http://renoir.vill.edu/cgi-bin/short/StatEd.cgi.

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    EDITORS


    Carol Joyce Blumberg
    Dept. of Mathematics and Statistics
    Winona State University
    Winona MN 55987-5838
    (507) 457-5589
    Fax: (507) 457-5376
    wncarolj@vax2.winona.msus.edu

    Joan Garfield
    Department of Educational Psychology
    University of Minnesota
    332 Burton Hall
    128 Pillsbury Dr., S.E.
    Minneapolis MN 55455
    (612) 625-0337
    Fax: (612) 624-8241
    jbg@maroon.tc.umn.edu

    Tom Moore
    Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
    Grinnell College
    Grinnell IA 50112
    (515) 269-4206
    Fax: (515) 269-4984; mooret@ac.grin.edu

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    ATTENTION K-12 SCHOOL MEMBERS


    At its last meeting the executive committee of the Section on Statistical Education decided to send this year's issues of the Section newsletter free to School Members of ASA. It is our hope that you find the information in this newsletter interesting.

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    NEWSLETTER NOW "SURFABLE" ON THE WEB!


    In addition to paper and e-mail versions, the Newsletter of the Section on Statistical Education is now available on the World Wide Web. The Newsletter is located at:
    http://renoir.vill.edu/cgi-bin/short/StatEd.cgi, and can be reached through the Statistical Education Section home page as well.

    Three different versions are available. The first is a "frames" version. Users must have a recent version of Netscape in order to see the frames. The frames display the contents and articles on the same screen, along with a banner and contact information. The second and third Web versions of the Newsletter are both non-frames versions, and are identical until the surfer chooses to print an article. The second version accesses each article as a separate file. If a surfer chooses to print an article, only that one article will appear on paper. The third version is a continuous feed version. That is, if a surfer chooses to print, then the entire newsletter will appear on paper. The editors chose to give surfers as much flexibility as possible in choices for displaying and printing the newsletter.

    The Web versions allow for links to articles and other interesting pages, and for direct e-mail connections to the authors and editors. An archive of past editions is also maintained on the main Newsletter page.

    Thanks to the editors for their encouragement and feedback, and to Jackie Dietz and Tim Hesterberg for helping with storage and technical details of creating and maintaining the Web version of the Newsletter.

    For further information contact:
    Tom Short
    Dept. of Mathematical Sciences
    Villanova University
    800 Lancaster Ave.
    Villanova PA 19085-1699
    (610) 519-6961
    Fax: (610) 519-6928
    short@monet.vill.edu
    http://renoir.vill.edu/~short/.

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    SHORT ANNOUNCEMENTS


    ASA now has a membership list available on the web. In order to insure its accuracy, ASA is requesting members to check their listings for correctness. The membership list is available at the ASA home page at
    http://www.amstat.org/. Please send corrections to memdept@amstat.org.


    Robin Lock is the winner of the 1996 Section on Statistics Education Best Contributed Paper award. His paper, "Datasurfing on the World Wide Web," received the highest audience evaluations among the 44 contributed papers presented at the meetings in Chicago. Professor Lock will receive his award at the 1997 meetings in Anaheim. The Statistics Education Section has conducted the Best Contributed Award contest for many years to promote high quality presentations. All contributed paper participants will soon be receiving summaries of their evaluations. If you have questions or need further information, please contact evaluation coordinator Ron Wasserstein at Washburn University, Topeka KS 66621; (913) 231-1010 x1108; Fax: (913) 231-1010 x1899; zzwass@acc.wuacc.edu.


    A large collection of quotes (from 35 articles) related to statistics, tenure, evaluation, and relationships between statistics and mathematics has been compiled by Tim Hesterberg. This collection is available on the ASA Statistical Education home page . Those without World Wide Web access may contact Tim at timh@statsci.com or at MathSoft/Statistical Sciences,1700 Westlake Ave. N, Suite 500, Seattle WA 98109-3044; (206) 283-8802x319, Fax: (206) 283-0347. These quotes may be useful to statisticians for: seeking fair evaluations and tenure, particularly those statisticians housed in mathematics or other departments besides statistics; seeking recognition for and a workload adjustment for consulting; seeking a workload adjustment for teaching, like (other) lab courses get; reforming statistics-- convincing colleagues (particular in a math department) of the importance of non-mathematical aspects of statistics.


    ASA is looking for ways to publicize its various Proceedings from the Joint Statistical Meetings (including those of the Section on Statistical Education) to non-ASA groups in order to increase the sales of these proceedings. The Proceedings of the Section on Statistical Education may be especially of interest to secondary school teachers. Please let teachers know about the availability of our Section proceedings. Also, if you have any ideas for particular groups (teachers or otherwise) that should be contacted, please send this information to Lori Thombs, Department of Statistics, University of South Carolina, Columbia SC 29208; (803) 777-7800; Fax: (803) 777-4048; thombs@stat.sc.edu.


    Each issue of the electronic Journal of Statistics Education includes a Datasets and Stories section that provides articles on interesting datasets and their use in teaching statistics. Past articles have presented data on topics such as automobiles, poverty, the Titanic disaster, body temperatures, readability of medical literature, video slot machines, body fat, and the sex lives of fruit flies. The datasets, documentation, and articles are all readily available in electronic formats (for example, on the WWW at http://www2.ncsu.edu/ncsu/pams/stat/info/jse/datasets.index.html). The importance of using examples based on real data has been amply documented, but the difficulties in finding just the right data to illustrate a particular teaching point are well known to readers of this newsletter. Electronic media, such as JSE, provide a wonderful means for sharing our collective efforts to find good data, but the success of such endeavors depends critically on the willingness of those who benefit from the service to contribute to its upkeep. Thus we would like to strongly urge you to considering submitting a dataset to the JSE Dataset Archive and writing an article for the Datasets and Stories section. Think about those times during your semester when you really look forward to a class or an assignment because you get to show the students some neat data. With just a bit of effort you can easily share those data with the rest of us.

    The most convenient method for submitting a dataset and/or article is by e-mail to either of the Datasets and Stories editors, Robin Lock, Mathematics Dept., St. Lawrence University, Canton NY 13617 (rlock@vm.stlawu.edu) or Bob Hayden, Plymouth State College, Plymouth NH 03264 (hayden@oz.plymouth.edu). Guidelines for contributions can be found on the WWW at http://www2.ncsu.edu/ncsu/pams/stat/info/jse/datasets.guide.html. JSE dataset articles are now refereed (let us know if you would be interested in helping review articles). You can check some of the existing datasets and stories to get a feel for the format of the documentation and articles. Even if you are not sufficiently motivated to write a full dataset article for JSE, you should still consider contributing interesting datasets and documentation to the dataset archive.


    The Statistics Teacher Network Newsletter is an excellent source of information on matters concerning statistical education in grades K-12. The newsletter includes, among other things, ideas for activities and reviews of software and textbooks. To contribute to the STN newsletter, contact Jerry Moreno, Dept. of Mathematics, John Carroll University, University Heights OH 44118; (216) 397-4681; Fax: (216) 397-3033; moreno@jcvaxa.jcu.edu. To subscribe to the STN newsletter, contact Veronica at the Center for Statistical Education at the ASA National Office (veronica@amstat.org).


    The Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics (CATS) was established by the National Research Council in 1977 to provide a focus of activity and concern for the statistical sciences, statistical education, use of statistics, and issues affecting the field. There are nine members of the committee, with staggered three year terms. Two current members represent the statistics education community (J. Laurie Snell and Joan Garfield). The committee is developing proposals for two projects that involve statistics education. One addresses the current teaching of the introductory course, the other examines essential components of a modern biostatistics education program. Questions and suggestions may be directed to any member or to the CATS chair, Daryl Pregibon, AT&T Bell Laboratories; daryl@research.att.com.

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    SPOTLIGHT ON BOB HOGG

    Sherry A. Wasserstein
    Freelance Journalist
    A student might see him humming and strolling across the University of Iowa's campus in a Santa Claus costume without realizing at first who he is. Or a new student in statistics may gasp and return to the dorm explaining that the stat teacher asked her--and only her--every question that day in class--before falling to his hands and knees to pray for a correct answer. Someone in an office down the hall might hear a unique rendition of "Thanks for the Memories"; or see the flash of green that accompanies the "Wheaties Outfit."

    All the above could be signs that Robert V. Hogg--yes, Hogg of the famous Hogg and Craig team that wrote the ground-breaking book "Introduction to Mathematical Statistics"--is on the move and impacting students right and left.

    Called "outstanding" by colleagues in the fields of teaching, research, publishing and speaking, he is famous nationally despite the fact that his career has been based entirely out of the university from which he received his master's and doctorate degrees. It is an unusual feat in this day and age where climbing to success seems to require moving from one learning institute to another. What is the key to such a successful communicator in statistics?

    "Well, the good Lord gave me the mathematical abilities and I got my sense of humor and gift of gab from Mother," he explains. What that means practically is that he is one of the few statisticians who can communicate the science with the ease of talking to a best friend.

    "I'm fairly relaxed. I really believe in interaction with the students," he said. "There are not many in academics interested in feedback. But students' complaints are blessings because they say, 'I'm doing something wrong.' But before they can complain they've got to trust you."

    To build that trust, Hogg continually does the unusual and really opens up to the students. Laying his own personality on the line, he tells his class throughout the year that Wheaties is the cure to every ill known to man; it is the answer to every nagging question; the way to improve anything; you can, in fact, cure cancer with the cereal. Then to complete the inside lecture-joke he shows up to class in the "Green Wheaties Suit." Or he may begin singing one of the many tunes he has revised like "There's no Theorem like Bayes' Theorem." It's an unusual approach that not every statistician could employ.

    "He is outlandish just to get the students riled up," quipped Ron Randles, chair of the Department of Statistics at the University of Florida. "Students remember his class. He loves people. He particularly enjoys working with students and colleagues. He is a very friendly guy--very bubbly. And he is very effective. The rest of us have to adapt--but he does it very, very well."

    Randles knows of whom he speaks, having researched and published with Hogg. Hogg, in fact, labels Randles as being one of the two great partners in research--Craig being the other.

    "I don't do research any more--but I had two great partners," Hogg explained. "Those two guys did a lot with me. You're lucky if you find one or two people in a lifetime to work with. I had two. We were concerned about students. We tried to do better. We talked a lot," he said.

    Although Randles believes there is "a lot of ham in that Hogg," and notes that the theatrical styles employed by Hogg are effective, it is more than just a show that has led to Hogg's successes.

    "His textbook is a classic and has brought him much fame," Randles says. "There are few within the profession like him. And I think one of the things is that Bob always has a positive outlook and in doing that he always inspires the best in people."

    Sometimes doing what's best in people is painful, too. Hogg is admired for his tact and caring attitude about dealing with students. He has been overheard telling students in conference sessions that either they were in the wrong major or needed some revision in their commitment. These are not easy words to communicate without making people feel threatened, but words that are necessary if you really care as a teacher.

    And sometimes the discomfort can be two-way. He is known for his "minute papers." These slips of paper are handed out the last minute of class, with the request that students relate the "muddiest" topic in class. The next day, the first five to ten minutes of class are devoted to reviewing these comments.

    Even in large classes, he encourages students to "wave their hands if I'm going too fast." He has even had them use signs: green means "too slow, you can speed this up" and red means "slow down--this is tough stuff."

    But the classroom isn't the only place Hogg has had success. Committees, national conventions and other campuses have also been the host of Hogg's wisdom and charm.

    "When he is in a meeting--you know it," Randles said. Jim Calvin, associate professor of statistics at Texas A & M, concurs, "He's never met a crowd he wasn't willing to win over."

    "He has a tremendous reputation as an instructor," he said. "The reputation in Iowa is he did not fear to use humor as part of his educational repertoire. He can teach the material and keep the students' attention."

    Calvin experienced this first-hand when Hogg visited his university and agreed to give an hour lecture to his graduate statistics students. Although Calvin "thinks the world of Bob!" he assumed his "lecture" would really be a 20-minute joke session. What he got was the "most well-organized, prepared, sequential lecture I've ever heard," he said. Filled with references to articles and historical perspectives, Calvin said he looked down at his watch expecting just a few minutes to have passed and the hour was up.

    "You know how you hear people say they hope they will have that much energy when they're that age? Well, I wish I had that much energy now!" Calvin muses.

    And "energy" is exactly the adjective that describes Hogg. He has attained numerous successes in publishing and teaching. He has received honors and filled prestigious positions at both the university level and in national statistics organizations. Now, at 72 years of age, he is in "phased retirement," meaning a half-time position. What this means, in reality, is a full-time schedule this fall semester and a 27-university speaking and research tour in the spring. Leaving January 13 and concluding May 2, Hogg plans to start in Arizona and conclude in Minnesota, offering university statistics departments a choice of six lectures. And when he is not speaking he will be researching his own personal quest to see how Total Quality Management can be applied to university teaching. This drive is stimulated by his on-going desire to improve education in America.

    "Unfortunately, in America today, mathematical skills are not as good as they should be. We've missed the boat," he said. He refers to the 1983 "Nation at Risk" revelation that the United States wasn't doing enough in math, chemistry and science. "We're even in worse shape," Hogg said. "They (students) are playing with computers but I get worried about basics. Maybe we should shut the TV off and the computer off. There's got to be a balance--and these guys that do (have a balance) get great things. But they know their basics."

    This concern is the focus of his energy right now. After experiencing the mathematical and teaching success he has attained and after expending a lot of energy in his personal life with the loss of his first wife Carolyn, his marriage to Ann in 1994, raising four children and working professionally with some of them, he has the luxury of picking what he really wants to spend his time doing. And his choice is trying to fix the future of mathematical education.

    "He is working on this because he's a man that has concerns. With his accomplishments, he must judge it as the most important thing he can accomplish," Calvin said.

    This accomplishment would be the realization by society that we must not only get back to basics but also use those skills to reach out to other areas and a lot more people with training. "Unless we get involved," Hogg warns, "we'll have trouble. It's OK to do the math--but it's very important to reach out and get truly involved...not just consulting, but really involved."

    He suggests degrees in statistical sciences with the emphasis in science. He suggests statistics majors get involved in other areas of interest and work in other fields. "Maybe even politics," he said, "but that's really going out on a limb."

    Editors' Note: Bob has graciously given us a copy of his speaking tour schedule. Please check with the person listed in parentheses at each university for further details.

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    SECTION ON STATISTICAL EDUCATION PLANS FOR 1997 JOINT MEETINGS

    Roxy Peck
    California Polytechnic State University
    1997 Section Program Chair
    Program planning for the 1997 ASA meetings is underway, and the Stat Ed section has some very interesting invited sessions in the works.

    Sandy Weisberg has organized a session titled "Using Graphics to Teach Statistics and Statistics to Teach Graphics", which promises to provide a different and thought-provoking perspective on the way in which we teach statistical concepts. Session participants will include Jan de Leeuw, Sandy Weisberg, Dennis Cook, Forrest Young, Robert McCulloch, and Dianne Cook.

    Capstone experiences will be the theme of an invited session that will examine three different models for capstone experiences in the undergraduate statistics curriculum. John Spurrier, Richard Madsen, and Chris McLaren will present, and Jim Daly will be the discussant for the session.

    "What I Did/Didn't Learn in School and How I Have/Haven't Used It in Industry" will be the topic of a panel discussion organized by Aidan Cardella. The panel will feature four recent graduates who will talk about experiences during the first few years in industry and the ways in which their education did and didn't prepare them for life after college.

    Stat Ed will also be cosponsoring a session with the Section on Quality and Productivity. This session, titled "Use of the World Wide Web to Support Classroom Instruction", will address the use of course home pages and the way in which they can be used to support classroom instruction in statistics.

    A new session format will be introduced this year-the invited poster session. There will be two invited poster sessions, one of which will be organized by the Stat Ed section. Our invited poster session will feature funded projects (NSF, NIH, etc.) that focus on the undergraduate statistics curriculum.

    The Section's seven or eight roundtable luncheons are being organized by Jerry Moreno. Some of the topics that he is trying to find discussion leaders for include: What to Do on First Day Stats 101; Favorite Datasets from the Web; Getting Involved in K-12 Statistics; Teaching Statistics to Nonstatisticians in the Workplace; Helping our Math Colleagues Teach Statistics; Getting Students Involved in the Undergraduate Data Analysis Contest; and Organizing a Local Statistics Poster Competition. If you are interested in being the luncheon discussion leader for any of these topics, or any other topic that you think is interesting in the area of statistical education, let Jerry know before February 5. Remember - free lunch for leaders! Contact Jerry at Dept. of Mathematics, John Carroll University, University Heights OH 44118; (216) 397-4681; Fax: (216) 397-3033; moreno@jcvaxa.jcu.edu.

    Several people are also hard at work organizing special contributed sessions on various topics. If you are interested in organizing such a session, contact me at COSAM, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo CA 93407; (805) 756-2971; Fax: (805) 756-1670; rpeck@calpoly.edu for further information.

    See you in Anaheim!

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    ADVANCED PLACEMENT STATISTICS - HOW TO GET INVOLVED

    Rosemary A. Roberts
    Chair, AP Statistics Test Development Committee
    In May 1997 the first AP Statistics Examination will be offered to high school students across the United States. The AP Statistics Course and Examination were described in a previous article that appeared in the Summer 1995 (Volume 1, Number 2) issue of this newsletter. The purpose of the current article is to make readers aware of some new opportunities that AP Statistics offers.

    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 majordomo@ets.bc.ca. 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 joeward@tenet.edu for further information.

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    MU SIGMA RHO AND THE COLLEGE BOWL

    Don Edwards
    University of South Carolina
    National President, Mu Sigma Rho

    What is Mu Sigma Rho? Mu Sigma Rho is the national honor society for statistics. Its Iowa State founders in 1969 stated its purpose as "the promotion and encouragement of scholarly activity in statistics, and the recognition of worthwhile achievement among the staff and students in eligible academic institutions". Today, Mu Sigma Rho has 20 chapters across the country. Besides the honoring of its inductees, Mu Sigma Rho has been very active in sponsoring or co-sponsoring sessions at ASA Meetings, such as the College Bowl in 1996 and 1997. Locally, chapters are involved in outreach activities such as judging science fair competitions and visiting high schools. Information about Mu Sigma Rho and the College Bowl is always near at hand on the Internet through the Mu Sigma Rho home page,
    http://www.stat.sc.edu/msrnatl.html. For example, the home page includes several issues of the national newsletter Mu Sigma Rhover, officer and chapter rep names, detailed information on the College Bowl, and the complete constitution and bylaws for the society.

    Mu Sigma Rho members or affiliate members must be inducted by an established chapter or affiliate chapter. Undergraduate members must (1) have completed at least two years of coursework; (2) have at least eight semester hours (twelve quarter hours) of statistics, of which at least five semester hours (seven quarter hours) must be at the junior level or above; (3) have at least a 3.25/4.00 grade point average in all statistics courses taken; and (4) rank in the top third of their class in all coursework. Graduate members must (1) have completed twelve semester hours (eighteen quarter hours) of graduate courses in statistics; and (2) be a graduate student in good standing, with at least a 3.50/4.00 grade point average in all graduate level statistics courses. There is a nominal $5.00 charge for each new member, to pay for lettering of a certificate.

    If you do not have a Mu Sigma Rho chapter at your College or University , but have had a statistics club or similar organization for at least one year, you are probably eligible to form a regular chapter; these can also be formed by several institutions in consortia. Additional requirements for forming a chapter are:

    1. must have at least 15 upperclass (junior, senior, and graduate) students majoring in statistics
    2. the undergraduate major (if any) must require at least 14 semester hours (21 quarter hours) in statistics
    3. the petitioning department or section must have at least one Ph.D. in statistics on its staff
    4. the petition must have the endorsement of the department or section of statistics chairperson
    5. at least five persons at the petitioning institution(s) must be eligible for membership and shall become charter members.

    Affiliate chapters can also induct members. This category was created in recognition of the possibility that many small or mid-sized programs may not be able to satisfy the requirements for full chapter status, but may be affiliated with a local ASA chapter, which could be the home of an affiliate chapter. The requirements for an affiliate chapter are:

    1. it must be based at a non-academic institution or organization
    2. the petitioning organization must have on its staff or membership at least one person with a Ph.D. in statistics
    3. the petition shall have the endorsement of the executive officer of the petitioning organization, if any
    4. at least five members of the organization shall be eligible for membership and shall become charter members.

    If you would like to form a chapter or affiliate chapter, contact Don Edwards, Dept. of Statistics, University of South Carolina, Columbia SC 29208; (803) 777-5073; Fax: (803) 777-4048; edwards@stat.sc.edu (and see the home page for more details).

    What is The College Bowl? The College Bowl, sponsored by Mu Sigma Rho and cosponsored by the ASA Section on Statistical Education, is about learning Statistics and Statistics history, while having fun. Players and audience exercise their quick-thinking problem-solving prowess in a fast-paced, light-hearted competition with peers from other graduate programs. It's a needed break from technical sessions, and a great opportunity for students and faculty across the country to mix and have fun, and learn a thing or two about statistics in the process.

    The Bowl has been held four times in the past, most recently at the Joint Meetings in Chicago, 1996, where teams representing eight excellent graduate programs (and six Mu Sigma Rho chapters) competed: Brigham Young, Chicago, Iowa, Iowa State, Nebraska, South Carolina, the Medical University of South Carolina, and Virginia Tech. After Tuesday morning's preliminary competition, emceed by Mark Payton of Oklahoma State, teams from Chicago, Virginia Tech, Iowa, and Iowa State advanced to Wednesday's second round, emceed by Bob "Boss" Hogg of Iowa. That morning, Chicago and Iowa State triumphed in their semifinal matches, and then in a heated final competition before a full house crowd of several hundred, the Cyclones surged ahead to win the Bowl for the second time in three years. The winning team from Iowa State consisted of Pam Abbitt, Kevin Dodd, Anindya Roy, and Pradipta Sarkar.

    Besides the fun of participation and the knowledge and useful information learned, every student participant in every past Bowl has received an award. The 1996 College Bowl saw unprecedented corporate sponsorship, with 40 awards offered with a total dollar value exceeding $10,000! MathSoft, SAS, and StatXact each provided five copies of their professional software (Splus, SAS/JMP, and StatXact/Turbo, respectively). Minitab provided one professional version of its software. Addison-Wesley and Duxbury provided multiple copies of the student versions of Minitab, JMP/IN, and Data Desk, as well as selected books. Marcel Dekker and John Wiley & Sons each generously provided five students with a choice of any text from a list including nearly all of their in-press works. Several of the '96 Bowl sponsors have already expressed interest in returning as a sponsor in '97.

    We need you for College Bowl V. Plans are well underway for a repeat performance of the Bowl at the 1997 Joint Statistical Meetings in Anaheim. Several of last year's teams plan to return. You can help by being the driving force in organizing your team. Don't wait, do it now! Deadline for registration is June 1, 1997. There are advantages to registering early, since any "byes" awarded will be given in order of registration. Awards are guaranteed for the top eight teams. Teams need not represent Mu Sigma Rho chapters. Teams from the west coast are especially encouraged, as they have been underrepresented in the past. Teams will consist of four players who are or have been full-time students at some time during the year. No alternate will be required this year; if for some reason a player is unable to compete, the team plays with three. Team players need not be from the same university. There is no monetary registration fee for teams. All that is required for registration is: (1) The players on a team make a serious commitment to attend the meetings and compete; (2) Each team submit 10-20 (good) questions to be used in the competition. Your team is not registered until its questions are submitted; send these to: Mark Payton, Department of Statistics, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater OK 74078; mpayton@okway.okstate.edu. More details such as College Bowl rules, history, and example questions with answers are shown on the College Bowl home page, which can be reached through the Mu Sigma Rho home page mentioned above. Anyone (students or faculty) may write the questions; care will be taken to ensure that a team will not be asked one of its own questions in competition.

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    INFORMAL SURVEY OF ACADEMIC PROGRAM REPRESENTATIVES ON COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY STATISTICS COURSE REQUIREMENTS

    W. J. Padgett
    University of South Carolina
    It has been a concern of mine for a number of years that many undergraduate majors in the physical and natural sciences in our College of Science and Mathematics are not required to take even an elementary course in statistics, especially since analysis of experimental data is the basis for scientific investigation. It is at least as important for undergraduates in the sciences to understand the basic concepts of statistics as it is to have knowledge of basic mathematics and computing. As H.G. Wells predicted more than forty years ago, statistical thinking is as important as reading, writing and basic mathematics. The CEO of ALCOA, Paul O'Neill, also indicated this recently when he stated that individuals who have gained a basic knowledge of statistics have a definite advantage when applying for their first jobs in modern companies. Business schools certainly recognize this and typically require a basic statistics course for graduation.

    Recently, I approached the Dean and the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies in our College about instituting a statistics requirement for all of our undergraduate majors. It was suggested that I try to find out what universities with similar colleges (arts and sciences, sciences, liberal arts and science, etc.) have such a requirement. I sent a request for information on such requirements to the e-mail alias list for the ASA Academic Program Representatives (stat-acad-reps@stat.sc.edu), which has approximately 105 statistics programs represented. Eventually, 46 responses were received concerning statistics requirements at the respective institutions. The results of this informal survey were quite mixed, with only five institutions having a college-wide requirement among colleges other than business administration. Further, only five institutions have a statistics requirement for all or almost all undergraduate students. Listed below are five general categories for the responses received.

    Therefore, it is not widely accepted that statistics should be a mandatory part of a core undergraduate curriculum, even for science students. In order for college graduates to be statistically literate going into the next century, perhaps it is time for statisticians nationwide to strive for the addition of a statistics requirement for all undergraduate students. It is as important for educated people to understand basic statistical thinking as it is to be mathematically and computer literate, or to have a knowledge of a foreign language and possess good communication skills.

    A similar question on quantitative requirements was earlier posed to a group of "isolated statisticians" by Allan Rossman of Dickinson College. A report on the results of that query can be obtained from him. He may be contacted at the Dept. of Mathematics and Computer Science, Dickinson College, P.O. Box 1773, Carlisle PA 17013-2896; rossman@dickinson.edu.

    Institutions with colleges requiring Statistics: Clemson-Engr.& Sci.; VCU-Hum. & Sci.; Purdue-Liberal Arts; Carnegie Mellon-Hum.& Soc.Sci.; Guelph-Engr., others (Requiring at least one statistics course: Mathematics, biological science, most physical and social sciences programs); US Coast Guard Acad.; Tennessee-Business; Connecticut-Business; and South Carolina-Journalism.

    "Statistics" is one choice for college quantitative requirement: New Mexico-Arts & Sci.; Georgia-Arts & Sci.; Iowa-Liberal Arts; California, Davis-Arts & Sci.; Oklahoma State-Arts & Sci.; Michigan-Lit.,Arts & Sci.; Vermont-Arts & Sci.; Gonzaga U.-Arts & Sci.; Minnesota; and George Washington-Arts and Sci.

    Institutions with a university-wide Statistics requirement: Harvard, Pomona, Ohio State (Required university-wide except engineering, physics, chemistry, and astronomy), Wyoming, and Old Dominion.

    Statistics is one choice for university "quantitative" requirement: Clemson, Colorado State, Missouri-Columbia, Pennsylvania State, Florida, Kentucky, Iowa State, North Carolina-Chapel Hill, California Poly, Michigan State, Idaho, California-Riverside, East Tennessee State, American, Kansas State, Nebraska-Lincoln, South Carolina, Wisconsin-Madison, Brigham Young, and Connecticut.

    No university-wide or college-wide Statistics requirement: Rice, Central Michigan, Oregon State, Bowling Green State, and Delaware.

    For further information contact:
    W.J. Padgett
    Dept. of Statistics
    W.J. Padgett
    Dept. of Statistics
    University of South Carolina
    Columbia SC 29208
    (803) 777-7800
    Fax: (803) 777-4048
    padgett@stat.sc.edu

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    INTRODUCTORY STATISTICAL EDUCATION: RADICAL REDESIGN IS NEEDED, OR IS IT?

    Roger W. Hoerl
    General Electric Company
    Introduction. The bulk of this article was originally presented as a commentary on Neil Ullman's paper "Statistical or Quantitative Thinking as a Fundamental Intelligence", presented at the 1995 Joint Statistical Meetings in Orlando. (Editors' Note: A condensed version of N. Ullman's paper appeared in Vol. 2, No. 1-Winter 1996 of this Newsletter.) The purpose for including it in this publication is to suggest that introductory statistics courses must be radically redesigned, not incrementally improved, if statistics is to assume its rightful place in US society. It is further argued that how to implement this radical revision is basically known; it simply requires combining several suggestions which have been made previously by recognized researchers in the field. While these do not appear radical individually, combining them would result in an introductory course virtually unrecognizable by today's standards.

    The remainder of the article is organized as follows. First, a case is made for radical revision of introductory statistical education as a key leverage point to positively impact the statistics profession as a whole. Next, an overall approach to redesign, based on four areas of revision is presented. These four individual areas will then be explored in detail, and lastly, an overall summary will be given.

    The need for radical redesign. The status of the statistics profession has been discussed at great length over the past ten or so years, and has been addressed by virtually every ASA president in this time frame. There is general consensus that we should be more influential in important issues facing our country, such as health care, economic policy, and the evaluation of various social programs. The word "crisis" and phrase "under siege" have been used by some to describe our current situation. While I do not intend to review this vast literature, the following quote from Bailar (1995) is hopefully indicative of the tone of much of the commentary.

    "As academic statisticians, we are missing the boat. We are barking up the wrong tree. We do not see what is plainly before us. We are kidding ourselves when we think that 'our' kind of statistics is vital to the welfare of the nation and the world....More and more, despite occasional appearances otherwise, we as academic statisticians are talking to ourselves. Even at this symposium, we talk about how to do the old things better and more broadly, not about what we could offer to society and what needs to be done...The kinds of statistics that we teach in under-graduate and especially in graduate programs have almost nothing to contribute to anything that matters on the scale of these problems."

    Unfortunately, many view the problem as one of "image" rather than substance, and do not see a need for us to fundamentally change. In diagnosing why this is so, I believe Carl Morris (1995) gave the correct answer when he said: "Can the needed changes be made? I am pessimistic about this. It is awfully hard to change, because to do so requires performing surgery on ourselves, and that hurts."

    If lack of influence is a symptom, what might be the root causes? As has been pointed out by many, the first exposure to formal statistics that most people receive is through introductory statistics courses in college. As someone who has both taught this course, and worked with numerous people in business and industry who went through it, I can testify that it can significantly and permanently impact students' perception of statistics. Unfortunately, this first impression is often negative, and may leave the future engineer or business leader with the impression that formal statistics is to be avoided at all costs. Bob Hogg (1991) spoke for many of us when he stated: "So students frequently view statistics as the worst course taken in college." I firmly believe that as a profession, we have significantly underestimated the long term detrimental impact to us of this perception by introductory students. I would further suggest that radical improvement of these introductory courses may be the single most powerful leverage point to improve the influence of our profession.

    Clearly, we are not solely to blame for the poor performance of introductory statistics courses. The lack of quantitative literacy in incoming students, the low value placed on introductory courses by academic administrators, academic reward systems which force non-tenured faculty to narrowly focus their energies on publication, and the frequent use of untrained non-statisticians to teach statistics, all contribute to the problem. Most commentators have acknowledged that we should have the leading role in improving the introductory courses, however, and many positive reforms are under way. My concern is that individually these reforms appear detached from one another, and only address isolated symptoms. In other words, they appear as "one-at-a-time" experiments unguided by theory. What follows is an attempt to view the reforms holistically, and provide a theoretical framework for how they might be integrated.

    A suggested approach. If we organize the main reform suggestions which have been made, we are left with four major redesign areas, which are closely interrelated. These provide a suggested course of action, which I would view as a "known solution", in that the individual ideas have been suggested previously, and generally agreed upon.

    1. Consciously develop course objectives based on students' and future employer needs, and structure the course to meet these objectives.
    2. Radically revise the course content based on the above objectives, which should lead to more emphasis on statistical thinking and less on numerical calculations.
    3. Utilize experiential learning more and lecture less.
    4. Reverse the organization of the course to teach overall approaches to scientific inquiry first, and individual tools afterwards.

    All of these points are referred to in Shon's paradox, mentioned by Ullman (1995). Shon's paradox (gender neutral version) states: "The paradox of learning a really new competence is this:

    I will now discuss the individual suggestions.

    Course objectives. As noted in Shon's paradox, students do not know what they need to learn. Therefore, student evaluations cannot provide much guidance on what we should try to accomplish in the introductory course. I believe that much of the disagreement on course design is due to having different views of what we are trying to accomplish. As the old saying goes, if we don't know where we are going, any road will do! Despite the vast literature on reforms to the introductory course, precious little meaningful discussion over proper objectives has occurred. This point has been made previously:

    Hogg (1991): "In some of these beginning courses, we must carefully consider the goals which differ from one group of students to another. Certainly, students in the liberal arts, taking statistics only to satisfy some 'quantitative reasoning' requirement, do not need to know about t and F tests....but no matter what the first course is under consideration, it is important to state the goals and give an appropriate course."

    Wild (1994): "We need to give careful consideration to the aims and objectives of every part of our programs. If we have not thought through very carefully what we are trying to achieve, we are in no position to assess the quality of what we provide. Unfortunately, so much of what we do is not thought through from a careful consideration of customers, aims, and objectives; it just grows in an ad hoc way over the years, building on what has been done before."

    In summary, we can't agree on a course because we haven't agreed on (or even discussed) objectives. Hopefully, however, all would agree that trying to make students experts in all statistical tools is not a realistic objective. It is interesting to look at typical introductory courses and texts, and think inductively about what set of objectives would lead one to develop this course. Such an exercise would seem to add credence to Wild's point.

    Content. Again, as noted in Shon's paradox, the student is not in a good position to suggest content. Clearly the content should be directly based on the objectives. It has been convincingly argued, however, that any reasonable set of objectives would lead one to stress good conceptual understanding of statistical concepts over memorization of formulas. The following comments are illustrative.

    Cobb (1991): "Emphasize statistical thinking: any introductory course should take as its main goal helping students to learn the basic elements of statistical thinking. Many advanced courses would be improved by a more explicit emphasis on those same basic elements."

    Hogg (1991): "The course should focus on the process of learning how to ask appropriate questions, how to collect data effectively how to summarize and interpret that information, and how to understand the limitations of statistical inference .… Good statistics is not equated with mathematical rigor or purity, but is more closely associated with careful thinking."

    Wild (1994): "These characteristics concern mental habits (rather than technical skills), which play a large part in statistical thinking...It would be very beneficial to society as a whole if these mental habits could be instilled early and widely, beginning with Stat 101."

    Bradstreet(1996): "Our profession must decide if we want to teach people to compute before we ask them to think."

    In summary, any reasonable set of objectives would lead to emphasizing statistical thinking over statistical techniques. The formal techniques can then be more rigorously addressed in subsequent courses. This is the approach typically used in other disciplines, such as economics, engineering, psychology, physics, and so on.

    Since statistical thinking has become somewhat of a "buzzword", I would like to clarify that I am using the term in the sense of the definition published by the Statistics Division of ASQC (1995):

    Statistical thinking is a philosophy of learning and action based on the following fundamental principles:

    This definition is discussed in greater detail in the Special Publication on Statistical Thinking (1996).

    Experiential learning. Shon notes that students can only learn by educating themselves. While there are various learning styles, it is virtually impossible to develop a new competence without actually doing it yourself. For example, imagine trying to learn to play chess or bridge solely by studying the rules in a class. Again, the suggestion to move towards less lecturing and more experiential learning has been made by many.

    Hogg (1991): "Instead of asking students to work on 'old' data, even though real, is it not better to have them find or generate their own data? Projects give students experience in asking questions, defining problems, formulating hypotheses and operational definitions, designing experiments and surveys, collecting data and dealing with measurement error, summarizing data, analyzing data, communicating findings, and planning 'follow-up' experiments suggested by the findings."

    Garfield (in Cobb 1991): "I do not lecture at all."

    Snee (1993): "We all learn more from what we do than from what we watch. Value comes from using statistics in one's life ... collection and analysis of data is at the heart of statistical thinking. Data collection promotes learning by experience and connects the learning process to reality."

    In summary, this reform appears obvious, and more progress has probably been made on this one than the others. Considering the previous two points, however, using experiential learning to teach the wrong content is of little value.

    Organization of the course. This is probably the reform area which has received the least attention in the literature. This is unfortunate, as it is well known in educational and behavioral research that the sequence in which material is presented significantly impacts understanding and retention. For example, it is known (Forrester 1990) that students learn most easily by seeing the big picture first, and then learning the details (whole to parts); by seeing a tangible example before learning the theory behind it (tangible to abstract); and by first grasping the concept of what they are doing, and then developing technical capability to do it (gross to fine). These points provide a proven theory to guide reform efforts. Statistics, especially at the introductory level, tends to use just the opposite approach:

    There are obvious tie-ins to content here. The overall process of scientific inquiry is a "whole". Real, sequential case studies can be used to introduce new techniques. In fact, Harry Roberts has been making this suggestion for years. "Gross" conceptual understanding is used with statistical thinking, while "fine" technical competency is used with statistical techniques.

    One potential explanation for the statistical community's resistance to utilizing this theory is the current overemphasis on mathematics (See Box 1993). Anything mathematical is often viewed as "rigorous" or "pure", while the overall process of investigation, sequential case studies, and conceptual understanding, although certainly scientific, are often viewed as extraneous, or "fluff", because they cannot be rigorously mathematicized. What is really "meat", and what is "fluff" obviously depends on the objectives.

    Shon's point that students "...can educate themselves only by beginning to do what they do not yet understand" refers to the need for gross understanding prior to technical competence, i.e., students need to begin applying what they have learned before they have fully mastered it. This point also explains why it is not a problem to show students techniques in a case study which they have not yet been formally taught. They can still get a gross understanding of what the technique is doing, and why it is being applied. This also creates "suction" from the students, in that after seeing the technique used, they are anxious to learn more about it.

    Several authors have also noted the need to explicitly teach the overall process of scientific inquiry prior to teaching individual tools. This provides an overall context for the tools, so that students understand why they need to learn a particular tool, and how it fits in with the rest of the course. For example: Wild (1994): "The process of investigation as a whole should be the heart of any statistics program, particularly of the basic introductory course, Stat 101. It is something one should never lose sight of, and should always come back to." And Hogg (1991): "In particular, students should appreciate how statistics is used in the endless cycle associated with the scientific method..."

    In summary, students' understanding and retention could be significantly enhanced by teaching the overall process of investigation before the tools, by using tangible case studies to introduce and motivate new topics, and by striving for gross understanding of key concepts (statistical thinking) before fine skills to apply numerical tools. It should be obvious that this would require virtually a complete reversal of the traditional course and text.

    Conclusion. Revitalizing the introductory statistics courses may be the single most impactful thing we can do in the long run to enhance the influence of our profession within US society. There is enough theory and specific examples to guide radical revision of these introductory courses. Individually, the reforms have been proven effective. Integrating them would lead to the following overall approach:

    1. Clarify our objectives. Suggestion - the main objectives should be to develop capability to apply statistical thinking and the overall process of investigation to everyday situations.
    2. Base the content on the objectives. Suggestion - emphasize statistical thinking versus statistical techniques.
    3. Utilize experiential learning. Suggestion - sequential, real projects of the students' choosing are excellent vehicles for learning the process of investigation.
    4. Reorganize the course in light of educational and behavioral science. Suggestion - a potential sequence might be: Why are we studying this topic? (Gross understanding); What is it? (Part 1, Tangible whole - real case studies); What is it? (Part 2, Abstract whole - overall framework or model); How do I do it? (Fine skills in the tools).
    This sequence may seen unusual (it is!), but is in fact natural, both for the overall course, and individual sections. This article utilizes the same basic sequence, although in the interest of space I have not provided a tangible case study for the redesign. For such an example, see Hoerl and Snee (1995). The article began by explaining why improving the introductory courses is so important for our profession (Why). It then presented the overall suggested approach for reform (What Part 1). Shon's paradox could be considered a theoretical framework for this approach (What Part 2). A much better example of the type of theoretical framework I am suggesting we use is the model in Chapter 1 of Box, Hunter, and Hunter (1978), which illustrates the sequential nature of experimentation, iterating between data and subject matter theory. This is one example of explicitly teaching the process of investigation prior to the individual tools.

    Once the overall suggested approach was presented at a high level, details of the individual points (How) were discussed. The reader will have to decide whether this approach was more effective than if the article had begun with details of the individual reform areas, and then tried to tie them together at the end, without ever discussing why this subject is important. Such an approach would be consistent with the typical introductory statistics course.

    Since how to change is basically known, the key question becomes will we? As noted by Hogg (1991): "Probably each of us thinks the others should change, but it is important that we must start with ourselves." Now is not the time to point fingers at one another, rather it is time for those who are willing to "belly up to the bar" and "perform surgery on ourselves". Good luck with your surgery!

    For further information contact:
    Roger Hoerl
    General Electric Co.
    Bldg K1, 4C39A
    PO Box 8
    Schenectady NY 12301
    (518) 387-4040
    Fax:(518)387-5714
    hoerl@crd.ge.com

    REFERENCES

  • Bailar, John C.(1995), "A Larger Perspective", in Special Section on CATS Symposium on Modern Interdisciplinary University Statistics Education, The American Statistician, 49, 1, 10-11.

  • Box, G.E.P.(1993), "The Role of Statistics in Quality Systems-Methods and Training," presented at the International Statistics Institute biennial meeting, Florence, Italy.

  • Box, G.E.P., Hunter, W.G., and Hunter, J.S.(1978), Statistics For Experimenters, John Wiley and Sons, New York.

  • Bradstreet, Thomas E.(1996), "Teaching Introductory Statistics Courses So That Nonstatisticians Experience Statistical Reasoning", The American Statistician, 50, 1, 69-78.

  • Cobb, George(1991), "Teaching Statistics: More Data, Less Lecturing," Amstat News, December, 182, 1 and 4.

  • Forrester, A.D.(1990), "An Examination of the Parallels Between Deming's Model for Transforming Industry and Current Trends in Education," Small College Creativity, 2, 2, 43-66.

  • Hoerl, R.W., and Snee, R.D.(1995), "Redesigning the Introductory Statistics Course," Report No. 130, Center for Quality and Productivity Improvement, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

  • Hogg, Robert V.(1991), "Statistical Education: Improvements Are Badly Needed", The American Statistician, 45, 4, 342-343.

  • Morris, Carl N.(1995), Comments on the Special Section on CATS Symposium on Modern Interdisciplinary University Statistics Education, The American Statistician, 49, 1, 21-23.

  • Snee, Ronald D.(1993), "What's Missing in Statistical Education?", The American Statistician, 47, 149-154.

  • Statistics Division, ASQC(1996), Glossary and Tables for Statistical Quality Control, Quality Press, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

  • Statistics Division, ASQC(1996), Special Publication on Statistical Thinking, available from Quality Information Center, ASQC, 611 East Wisconsin Avenue, PO Box 3005, Milwaukee, WI 53201-3005. (800) 248-1946.

  • Ullman, Neil R.(1995), "Statistical or Quantitative Thinking as a Fundamental Intelligence", presented at the 1995 Joint Statistical Meetings in Orlando Florida.

  • Wild, C.J.(1994), "Embracing the 'Wider View' of Statistics", The American Statistician, 48, 2, 165-171.

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    ASSESSMENT IN STATISTICS COURSES: A ONE-DAY CONFERENCE FOR TEACHERS OF STATISTICS


    The Boston Chapter of the American Statistical Association is organizing a conference on assessment in statistics courses at all levels to be held on Saturday, April 19, 1997 at Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts. Additional support is being provided by Simmons College, the ASA Section on Statistical Education, The Connecticut Chapter of ASA, and the Rhode Island Chapter of ASA.

    The Keynote Speaker is Joan Garfield, University of Minnesota. Other featured presenters are:

    Assessing Students: Jon Cryer, Rosemary Roberts, Norean Sharpe
    Assessing the Course: Patricia Busk
    Assessing Textbooks: Katherine Halvorsen, Robert Hayden
    Assessing Software: Steven Cohen, John Nash
    Assessing Innovations in the Classroom: Allan Rossman
    Discussant: Richard Scheaffer, University of Florida
    This conference will address five broad areas of assessment in statistics courses. These include assessing students (e.g., objective and open-ended test questions, assessment tools besides tests including labs, projects, or cases); assessing the course (e.g., techniques for assessing students' attitudes and values and their reactions to class activities, assignments, and instructional methods); assessing textbooks (e.g., what should a teacher look for in choosing a textbook); assessing software (e.g., ease of use, accuracy, usefulness in helping students construct their own knowledge of statistics); assessing classroom innovations (e.g., how can an instructor decide if a new classroom innovation is successful). In addition to having speakers address these areas, there will be luncheon roundtables where participants can engage in small-group discussions around themes such as sharing favorite test questions, developing scoring rubrics for open-ended questions, discussing the AP Statistics course and exam, evaluating written work such as projects or cases, or getting started with formative assessment.

    Registration information: Registration packets will be mailed in early February 1997. These packets will include a registration form, more details on the conference including a schedule of the days events, directions to Simmons College, and information on lodging in the area. If you would like to receive a registration packet, send your name, affiliation, mailing address, phone number, and email address (preferably by email) to:
    Robert N. Goldman
    Department of Mathematics
    Simmons College
    300 The Fenway
    Boston MA 02115-5898
    (617) 232-7254
    rgoldman@vmsvax.simmons.edu.

    The registration fee for the conference will be approximately $40 for members of the Boston, Connecticut, and Rhode Island Chapters and $45 for all others, payable when the registration form is returned.

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    THE FIFTH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON TEACHING STATISTICS -ICOTS-5


    Place Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

    Dates June 21 - 26, 1998

    Theme Statistical Education - Expanding the Network

    The International Conferences on Teaching Statistics are organized by the International Association for Statistical Education, the IASE, which is a section of the International Statistics Institute, the ISI. These are the most important international conferences on the teaching of statistics and are held in different locations around the world once every four years. They bring together several hundred statistics educators and practitioners, including those from schools, colleges and universities, industries and governments.

    General objectives for ICOTS-5--To provide opportunities for educators throughout the world to expand their network in statistical education and encourage a worldwide exchange of ideas. In particular the conference aims to create opportunities for networking in technology with modern methods in the teaching of statistics, school and tertiary statistical education at all levels, the wider community with statistical educators, statistical education with the forefront of statistical practice, the exchange of ideas for teaching statistics between and within developing and developed countries, educational research results and the practice of teaching statistics

    It is planned to include keynote speakers, invited speakers, contributed papers, workshops and forums for the exchange of ideas, demonstration lessons, roundtable sessions, poster sessions, book and software displays, hands-on computer sessions, many opportunities for personal communication and exchange of experiences, and ideas and for networking.

    The conference will focus on several main topic areas which are detailed below. Each topic area is broken down into a number of sessions, each with its own convener. The topic areas, conveners and email addresses are:

    1. Statistical education at the school level (Elementary level, secondary level, teacher training, local teachers) Lionel Pereira-Mendoza; pereiraml@am.nie.ac.sg

    2. Statistical education at the post-secondary level (Introductory statistics, mathematical statistics, design and analysis of experiments, regression and correlation, Bayesian methods, categorical data analysis, sample survey design and analysis) Richard Scheaffer; scheaffe@stat.ufl.edu

    3. Statistical education for people in the workplace (Statistical consultancy, continuing education, distance education, total quality) Kerstin Vannman; kerstin.vannman@ies.luth.se

    4. Statistical education and the wider society (Statistical Societies, statistical literacy, publications, legal contexts, journalists, informed society) Anne Hawkins; ash@maths.nott.ac.uk

    5. An international perspective of statistical education (African region, Asian region, Spanish speaking, Other developing regions) James Ntozi; isae@mukla.gn.apc.org

    6. Research in teaching statistics (Junior levels, senior school levels, post-secondary levels, probability) Joan Garfield; jbg@maroon.tc.umn.edu

    7. The role of technology in the teaching of statistics (Software design, teaching experiments, graphics calculators, visualization, research, multi-media and WWW) Rolf Biehler; rolf.biehler@post.uni-bielefeld.de

    8. Other determinants and developments in statistical education (Cultural/historical factors, learning factors, assessment, gender factors, projects/competitions)

    Guiseppe Cicchitelli; pino@stat.unipg.it

    9. Contributed papers: Shir-Ming Shen ; hrntssm@hkucc.hku.hk

    10. Poster sessions: Peng Yee Lee; leepy@am.nie.ac.sg

    There was a good response to the earlier call for papers and some of the sessions are already closed, but there is still room for speakers in a number of sessions. If you are interested in presenting a paper at ICOTS-5 please submit an abstract, 300-500 words, to the relevant topic convener or to the Chair of the International Program Committee (B. Phillips--see below) by February 28, 1997. Invited speakers are expected to present their current work rather than information that has already been published or presented at a previous conference.

    In sessions which deal with teaching particular courses, speakers should focus on key issues and perhaps information about evaluation of the courses, rather than course details or syllabus descriptions, which could be provided on a handout if necessary.

    Normally each individual is restricted to at most two major speaking appearances in the program. There are no funds to assist speakers and they are expected to register for the conference. Once the overall program has been determined, official invitations to participate will be issued to speakers by the International Program Committee. This is to ensure a balanced program and to give as many people as possible the opportunity of involvement in the meeting.

    Because of the limited number of speakers who can be accepted for each session, people whose abstracts are not accepted will be referred to other relevant session conveners and/or the contributed paper and poster sessions conveners.

    Note: Anyone who wants to run a special session such as a special interest group discussion or demonstration/training session should contact the IPC Chair (B. Phillips) for consideration.

    At a number of places throughout the program it is intended to have some "networking opportunities", in line with the conference theme. The idea here is to give people time for developing links between people both within their own area of special interest and between several areas. In these sessions participants will have the opportunity to form groups for ongoing communication Examples of what could be achieved in these sessions include organizing electronic discussion groups and planning what information people would like to see on a WWW page to help them expand their network in those areas of statistical education. These ideas could be used as the basis for future meetings such as round table meetings and ICOTS. At the closing session a summary of the main findings could be presented.

    For further information contact the WWW site at http:www.nie.ac.sg:8000/~wwwmath/icots.html or:
    Chair IPC, Brian Phillips
    Swinburne University of Technology
    School of Mathematical Sciences
    P.O. Box 218
    Hawthorn 3122
    Victoria, Australia
    +61 3 9214-8288
    Fax: +61 3 9819-0821
    bphillips@swin.edu.au
    or
    Chair LOC (Local Organizing Committee) Teck-Wong Soon
    twsoon@singstat.gov.sg)
    or
    Singapore contact, Lionel Pereira-Mendoza
    pereiraml@am.nie.ac.sg.

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    MIDWEST CONFERENCE ON TEACHING STATISTICS


    Place University of Wisconsin--Oshkosh

    Dates March 21 at noon to March 22 at 5:00 p.m.

    The purpose of this conference is to share the latest ideas and information on issues related to teaching statistics at all levels. The conference will feature invited presentations by George Cobb, Joan Garfield, Dennis Gilliland, Allan Rossman, Robert Wardrop, and Jeffrey Witmer. There will also be contributed paper sessions. Registration forms and updated information are available from the MCOTS home page http://www.uwosh.edu/faculty_staff/gunaward/mcots.html or from:
    K.L.D. Gunawardena
    Department of Mathematics
    University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
    Oshkosh WI 54901-8631
    (414) 424-1056
    Fax: (414) 424-7317
    gunaward@uwosh.edu.

    The conference is sponsored by the Exxon Foundation and the ASA Section on Statistical Education.

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    ELEMENTARY STATISTICS LABORATORY WORKSHOP


    The Department of Statistics at the University of South Carolina will host an NSF sponsored workshop to train college faculty on the use of "hands-on" laboratory exercises in elementary statistics courses. The workshop will be held on June 24-28, 1997 in Columbia, South Carolina, and is limited to 24 participants. John Spurrier and Lori Thombs will lead the workshop.

    Funding is available to support all local expenses of the participants. In addition, five stipends of up to $250 are available to help defray the cost of travel for persons who are from resource poor colleges.

    Participants will take part in several laboratory experiences which illustrate important concepts of applied statistics. Strategies for successful supervision of laboratory experiments, leading student teams, having students prepare written reports, obtaining equipment, generating enrollments and training lab assistants will also be addressed. Participants will be asked to use at least two of the ten experiment-based exercises in their own courses during the 1997-1998 academic year.

    Prospective participants are encouraged to complete an application form as soon as possible. A rolling selection process will begin February 1, 1997 with an application deadline of April 1, 1997. April 15, 1997 is the target date for the selection of all participants. To obtain an application form or more information about the workshop contact:
    John Spurrier
    Department of Statistics
    University of South Carolina
    Columbia SC 29208
    (803) 777-5072
    Fax: (803) 777-4048
    spurrier@stat.sc.edu.

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