Strategies for Teaching an Enduring Knowledge of Statistics

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# Strategies for Teaching an Enduring Knowledge of Statistics - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Strategies for Teaching an Enduring Knowledge of Statistics. Larry Weldon Simon Fraser University. Service vs Mainstream?. A troublesome dichotomy! “mainstream” students need to understand applications “service” students need authentic learning they can use

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### Strategies for Teachingan Enduring Knowledgeof Statistics

Larry Weldon

Simon Fraser University

Service vs Mainstream?
• A troublesome dichotomy!
• “mainstream” students need to understand applications
• “service” students need authentic learning they can use
• First Course vs Higher Level Course
• same approach at each level – conceptual understanding

(more, not different, for higher level)

• not merely the level of mathematics
What is wrong with traditional approach?

Is there any evidence that a major change is needed?

Descriptive stats, sampling, estimation,

hypothesis testing, regression …

Evidence for needed change?
• growth of applied-statistical disciplines: biostatistics, psychometrics, envirometrics, official statistics, …
• lack of job ads for “Statistician”
• high proportion of students taking the minimum required courses in statistics
• rarity of departments of statistics
• low status among stat faculty of “applied” work
Change of Approach Needed
• E2L2
• Experience Early, Logic Later
• Case studies – techniques as required, thenlogical structure to link ideas (Math & Logic)
Strategies for a first Course
• Avoidance of a technique-oriented textbook
• Experiential presentation of techniques in areas of interest
• Use of computing by instructor for simulation and graphics
• No student computing, few formulas
• Open book & notes for tests and exams
• Use of graphics for explanations
• Require verbalization of why, what, when
• Sample tests and exams to impart objectives
• Application material that is an important part of a general education
• List of Concepts, Contexts and Techniques as an aid to exam preparation
STAT 100 at SFU in Spring 2010
• See handout for overview.
• Course notes at www.stat.sfu.ca/~weldon
Sequence of Case Studies

for example

• stock market index
• sports leagues
• Olympics medals
• fuel consumption annual pattern
• casualty insurance
• city populations
• lotteries
• spam filters

Many basic concepts and techniques are needed for such cases

Simulations with Graphics
• sampling dist’n of the sample mean
• insurance company survival
• diversification of investments
• illusions of randomness
• sports leagues
• spatial clustering of plants
Technique Coverage by Example
• sampling error
• forensic science example
• randomized response example
• regression
• spam filter
• electronic marketing example
• estimation
• Africanized bee invasion
• political polls
Verbalization
• need to have students explain concepts with words
• tests and exams that require this skill
• integrate general intelligence with stats concepts
Tests and Exams – Open Book
• discourage memory work without understanding
• focus attention on concepts and problem-solving
• make assessment more authentic to real-life needs
Strategies for a Higher Level?
• Avoidance of a technique-oriented textbook
• Experiential presentation of techniques in areas of interest
• Use of computing by instructor for simulation and graphics
• No student computing, few formulas
• Open book & notes for tests and exams
• Use of graphics for explanations
• Require verbalization of why, what, when
• Sample tests and exams to impart objectives
• Application material that is an important part of a general education
• List of Concepts, Contexts and Techniques as an aid to exam preparation
• Math as a simplification technique, to summarize technique structure
More Detail ?

Paper is posted (English version) at

www.stat.sfu.ca/~weldon