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Girls are better at maths than boys. Statistical Coursework. There are more vowels used in a page written out in French rather than English. Assessing the task. Statistical coursework is marked under three headings: Specifying the problem and planning

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statistical coursework

Girls are better at maths than boys


There are more vowels used in a page written out in French rather than English.

Wf - 2003

assessing the task
Assessing the task

Statistical coursework is marked under three headings:

  • Specifying the problem and planning
  • Collecting, processing and representing the data
  • Interpreting and discussing the results

Wf - 2003

1 specifying the problem and planning
1. Specifying the problem and planning

This strand is about choosing a problem and deciding what needs to be done, then doing it. The strand requires you to provide clear aims, consider the collection of data, identify practical problems and explain how you might overcome them.

For the higher marks you need to decideupon a suitable sampling method, explain what steps were taken to avoid possible bias and provide a well structured report.

Wf - 2003

2 collecting processing and representing the data
2. Collecting, processing and representing the data

This strand is about collecting data and using the most appropriate statistical techniques and calculations to process and represent the data. Diagrams should be appropriate and calculations mostly correct.

For the higher marks you will need to accurately use higher level statistical techniques and calculations from the higher tier GCSE syllabus content.

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3 interpreting and discussing the results
3. Interpreting and discussing the results

This strand is about commenting, summarising and interpreting your data. Your discussion should link back to the original problem and provide an evaluation of the work undertaken.

For the higher marks you will need to provide sophisticated and rigorous interpretations of your data and provide an analysis of how significant your findings are.

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getting started setting up your hypothesis
Getting started – setting up your hypothesis

Moderator comment:

Your statistical task must always start with a ‘hypothesis’ where you state exactly what you are investigating and what you expect to find.

It does not matter whether your hypotheses are true or false – you will still gain marks if your hypothesis turns out to be false.

Your hypothesis should be clearly stated and testable.

 Brainstorm possible hypotheses for a task relating to the differences and similarities between boys and girls.

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choosing the right sample
Choosing the right sample

Once you have decided your aims and set up a hypothesis then it is important to consider how you will test your hypothesis.

To this end, there should be a discussion of what data is needed to test the hypothesis, how much and what type.

Your sample size must be at least 30

  • Suggest the data that would be relevant to testing the following hypothesis:

“In any particular age group, boys are taller than girls”

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Sampling techniques include:

Random sampling is where each member of the population has an equally likely chance of being selected. An easy way to do this would be to give each person a number and then choose the numbers randomly.

Systematic sampling is the similar to random sampling except that there is some system involved such as numbering each person and then choosing every 20th number to form the sample.

Stratified sampling is where each person is placed into some particular group or category (stratum) and the sample size is proportional to the size of the group or category in the population as a whole.

Convenience sampling or opportunity sampling is one which involves simply choosing the first person to come along … although this method is not particularly random!

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Imagine you are going to conduct a survey of the opinions of pupils at this school about school uniform.

Describe how you would collect the following samples:

a random sample

a systematic sample

a stratified sample

a convenience sample

You must be very careful to avoid any possibility of bias in your work. For example, in making comparisons it is important to ensure that you are comparing like with like. For example, a comparison between the number of graphics used in a newspaper and the number in a magazine must include some consideration of the relative sizes of the two publications – newspapers are larger than magazines.

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methods and calculations

Using the table:

  • What do you notice about the average of the length and weight?
  • What do you notice about the spread of the length and weight?
  • Does the information support the hypothesis?
Methods and calculations

You can represent the data using statistical calculations such as the mean, median, mode, range and standard deviation.

E.g. Hypothesis being tested:

“Students are better at estimating the length of a line

than the weight of a package”.

Tabulated calculations:

Length(cm) Weight (g)

Mean 15.9 105.2

Median 15.5 100

Mode 14 100

Range 8.6 28

St Dev 1.2 2.1

Note: the actual length of the line is 15cm and the weight of the package is 100g.

It is important to consider whether information on all of these statistical calculations is essential.

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points to note about the statistical calculations
Points to note about the statistical calculations:
  • The mean, mode and median are all measures of central tendency
  • The range, inter-quartile range, (percentiles) and standard deviation are all measures of spread (variability).
  • When comparing two distributions you should consider an average and a measure of spread.
  • Choose the best representative value for you data (e.g. the median). Do not be repetitive. Ensure a good range of appropriate techniques, including some higher tier techniques if appropriate.
  • GCSE Stats students should try to include calculations such as standard deviation (measure of spread) and Spearman’s Rank Correlation (measures the strength of correlation between two variables).

Wf - 2003

graphical representation
Graphical representation

It may be useful to show your results using graphs and diagrams as sometimes it is easier to see trends.

Graphical representation might include:

Pie charts, bar charts, scatter diagrams, stem and leaf diagrams, histograms, cumulative frequency graphs and box-whisker diagrams.

Moderator comment:

You should only use appropriate diagrams and graphs.

Remember: you should comment on why you are choosing to include a particular diagram and, after you have drawn it, what inferences you can make based on the diagram.

Wf - 2003

matching the graph to the purpose of the investigation
Matching the graph to the purpose of the investigation
  • Comparing
  • Generalising

The four main reasons for collecting data are:

  • Describing
  • Summarising

Here are a few examples to give you an idea of what is meant above.

Purpose Typical statements

Describing There are 14 boys and 15 girls

The tallest person in the class is a girl

Summarising The modal class height is 1.50-1.55m

The heights of Paul and Tom are typical of the class

Comparing There are more boys than girls

There are more tall girls than tall boys

Generalising Girls seem to be taller than boys at this age

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summarising and interpreting the data
Summarising and interpreting the data

You should refer to your original hypothesis when you summarise your results.

  • Moderator comment:
  • In your conclusion you should also suggest limitations to your investigation and explain how these might be overcome.
  • You may wish to discuss:
  • sample size
  • sampling methods
  • biased data
  • other difficulties


You need to appreciate that the data is more secure if the sample size is 500 rather than 50.

Wf - 2003

extending the task
Extending the task

To gain better marks in your coursework you should extend the

task in light of your findings.

In your extension you should:

  • Give a clear hypothesis
  • Collect further data if necessary
  • Present your findings using charts and diagrams as appropriate
  • Summarise your findings referring to your hypothesis

Wf - 2003

using a computer
Using a computer

It is quite acceptable that calculations and representations are generated by computer, as long as any such work is accompanied by some analysis and interpretation.

Accuracy check

Whether you have computer-generated or hand-drawn tables

and diagrams you should check the following:

  • The tables are clear
  • The diagrams are labelled clearly

The diagrams have titles

There is a wide variety of diagrams

They are all appropriate

Remember there is no need to use every type

  • The calculations are clearly written out

They are appropriate and relevant

Wf - 2003

this list of statistics is often useful in investigative tasks

In this presentation I have tried to give you some hints on approaching statistical coursework to gain the best possible mark.

This list of statistics is often useful in investigative tasks:
  • Calculating averages (mean, mode and median)
  • Finding the range
  • Pie charts, bar charts, stem and leaf diagrams
  • Constructing a cumulative frequency graphs
  • Finding the inter-quartile range
  • Histograms
  • Calculating the standard deviation
  • Drawing a scatter graph and line of best fit
  • Sampling techniques
  • Discussing bias


None of these will gain you marks if they are not appropriate and relevant to your enquiry!

Wf - 2003