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Using Writing in Statistics Classes to Dispel “Word Problem” Anxiety and Enhance Understanding. Tonya Adkins. Presented June 12, 2014 at the AP Statistics Readers’ Best Practices Session Kansas City, MO. Incorporation of Writing in Statistics. Learning Styles Assessment Take-home quizzes

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## Using Writing in Statistics Classes to Dispel “Word Problem” Anxiety and Enhance Understanding

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**Using Writing in Statistics Classes to Dispel “Word**Problem” Anxiety and Enhance Understanding • Tonya Adkins Presented June 12, 2014 at the AP Statistics Readers’ Best Practices Session Kansas City, MO**Incorporation of Writing in Statistics**• Learning Styles Assessment • Take-home quizzes • Online writing assignments on uLearn (our CMS) • TED Talks reaction papers • Letters to future students**Learning Styles Assessment**• Students were directed to uLearn to take an assessment to determine their preferred learning styles (Auditory, Visual, Kinesthetic). • After discovering their “scores” for each learning style, they were asked to read a list of characteristics and study tips for each learning style. • Students were then asked to write their thoughts about themselves and their learning styles (or combination of), and how that relates to their past experiences in mathematics. • The next question asked them to reflect on the characteristics and strategies described, and how they will use that information to their current and future math classes.**Take-home quizzes**• Students were given 5-6 take-home quizzes throughout the course, and were given at least a week to complete each. • Each THQ was 100% “word problems,” and students were required to show or describe their strategy for solving, then answer the question in a complete thought. • The questions would require a justification for each answer, since often answers could be unique.**Online Writing assignments**• Weekly online writing assignments were given, with the purpose of having them verbalize concepts learned and apply their acquired knowledge. • Sample questions asked: • (Following the first two chapters on data collection and experimental design) Describe how statistics can be used A) in your field of study and B) in your everyday life as a consumer • Using the definition of subjective probability, defend a meteorologist’s position when he/she is being accosted for being wrong with the forecast. • Explain how drawing and shading a curve assists in finding probabilities and verifying your results. • Although we learn a good deal about probability in this course, the main emphasis is on statistics. Write a few paragraphs in which you talk about the distinction between probability and statistics. In what types of problems would probability be the main tool? In what types of problems would statistics be the main tool? Give some examples of both types of problems. What kinds of outcomes or conclusions do we expect from each type of problem? • Suppose you are an events coordinator for a club with 77 members. The club decides to do a raffle as a fundraiser to buy t-shirts for all members of the club (at $7.77 per shirt, including tax) and to make a donation to Classroom Central. Party City charges $9.99 + 6.75% tax for 1000 double-roll raffle tickets. You decide to award 7 cash prizes. You can assume that you are able to sell all of the tickets you purchase. Write a report to your club Advisor and President which formulates your plan. Include the value of the cash prizes, how many tickets you will sell and for how much, a probability distribution table for all possible outcomes, and the expected value of each ticket. Also report how much Classroom Central will receive as a donation. Explain each reported amount fully in case your club is audited, so you can account for every penny.**TED talks reaction papers**• Students were given: • A list of math TED talks, compiled by me • A “Handy Dandy Guide to Writing Reaction Papers” which I “borrowed” from the internetz • The rubric – which included two categories related to math reflection, one on technical writing skills • A stern reminder that this would serve as the ONLY form of “extra credit” in my class • Students submitted papers via TurnItIn to prohibit plagiarism**Letters to Future Stats students**• Near the end of the term, I ask students to write a letter to my stats students for the next term. Students are requested to include any or all of the following: a description of their initial anxiety and how that was overcome, strategies adopted which helped with success in the course, what difficulties were overcome and how, and any general advice they chose to include.**So what has this done for students?**• My goals: • Students overcoming math anxiety, especially with “word problems” • Giving students a chance to discover themselves and to make good choices on what study strategies work best for them individually – and have that carry over to other classes • Giving students a chance to communicate with me on a regular and individual basis, and to receive feedback • Getting students to realize I understand their struggles, I care, and am willing to help them overcome their aversion to mathematics/statistics • Giving students yet another chance to develop their writing skills**Want my resources?**• Email me at tonya.adkins@jwu.com for any prepared resources mentioned today.

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