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Survey Says: Using Course Long Projects to Connect Statistics to the Real World AMATYC Meeting November 2007 Minneapolis, MN Johnny Duke, Ph.D. Georgia Highlands College Rome, Georgia

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Survey Says Connections NCTM Process Standard Connections among the various areas of mathematics. Connections between mathematics and the real world.

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Survey Says Advice from the American Statistical Association “… students should have the experience of applying their learning in settings as real as possible during their education. This could include co-ops, summer jobs, class projects …” Ritter, Starbuck, and Hogg

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Survey Says Introduction to Statistics is a service course at Shorter College and at Georgia Highlands. A variety of majors: Business, Biology, Ecology, Middle Grades Education, Mathematics, Social Sciences, History Concern that learning was disjointed and isolated from real life. First conceived of a semester long project while working with Service Learning.

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Survey Says Goals Connect what was being learned in class with a real life application. Connect the various elements of introductory statistics to each other. Learn to use technological tools (calculators and computers) to organize and present data. Give students an experience that would help prepare them for the use of statistics in their future careers.

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Survey Says Volunteerism Survey: Collecting Data Creation of a survey instrument What types of data are needed? How to word the instrument for clarity. Types of sampling techniques Random Sample Systematic Sample Stratified Sample Cluster Sample Convenience Sample

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Survey Says Volunteerism Survey: Organizing Data Database Entry Standardize entry for consolidation Frequency Distributions Categorical Ungrouped and Grouped Graphs Bar graphs Pie Charts

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Survey Says Volunteerism Survey: Analyzing Data Measures of Central Tendency Measures of Variation Confidence Intervals Single Population Hypothesis Testing Two Population Hypothesis Testing Did the sampling method appear to make a difference? How do religious and non-religious volunteers compare?

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Survey Says Volunteerism Survey: Presenting Data Graphs and Charts Written report Connection with English Connection with skills in Introduction to Computers

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Survey Says Other projects Television Sex and Violence Survey 1999 Data Collection Different The need for training became apparent Could be combined with literature research Presidential Election Polls 2000 and 2004 Intersected with current political events Very similar process to Volunteerism Survey Students learned to use Minitab in 2000 and Excel in 2004

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Survey Says Other Projects Spring 2001 The groups proposed projects that I could approve or not approve. I provided a list to help them “brainstorm.” This made it easier for students to apply statistics to their field/particular interests. There was unevenness in the amount of statistics used in the projects in terms of correlating to the topics covered in class.

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Survey Says Other Projects Statistical Analysis of SAFE 2002 An after-school program of the Rome City Schools Combined Service Learning Used this project to teach SPSS By far the most important project Disappointment with testing error that caused the data to be thrown out

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Survey Says Other Projects Statistical Analysis of the Tax Assessments for Residential Property in Floyd County 2003 Collection of data from the public records at the Tax Assessor’s Office Comparison of actual selling prices with the appraised prices in 2002

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Survey Says Other projects Human Body Proportions and the Golden Ratio 2005 Testing the claims from Internet sites on the Golden Ratio Data Collection and Entry into Excel Descriptive Statistics Confidence Intervals and Hypotheses Testing Correlation and Linear Regression

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Survey Says Other Projects Local Weather Local high, low, and precipitation for a month from weather.com Descriptive stats and graphs using Excel Probability and probability distributions Confidence Intervals Hypothesis Testing Correlation and Linear Regression

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Survey Says Other Projects Skittles (M&M’s) Used in Maymester A much “lighter” project You can eat the data

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Survey Says Ideas from others Salaries of Major League Baseball Players from USA Today – Wiseman & Chatterjee Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll—Bolstad, Hunt, & McWhirter Birth records from North Carolina— Holcomb & Ruffer

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Survey Says Ledotler’s List Salaries of Professors at the University of Iowa Predicting future student enrollment at U of Iowa ACT and College Performance Sports statistics Automotive Studies Safety of Iowa Roads Health-related Issues Real Estate listing and selling prices Sales and attendance analysis of a local restaurant Radio station preferences

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Survey Says Grading Series of worksheets Total generally equivalent to 1.5 to 2 test grades Both individual and group work

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Survey Says Result of One Student Survey 94% agreed with “These projects helped me to better understand statistical concepts.” 82% agreed with “Using the same data set repeatedly has helped me to see there is a range of statistical procedures (techniques) that may be used to investigate/answer the same question.” 97% agreed with “These projects helped me to learn how to construct graphs and tables for statistical analysis.” 82% agreed with “Working in groups helped me to learn to communicate statistical ideas.” Holcomb & Ruffer, p. 52

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Survey Says What are your questions? What are your ideas and/or experiences?

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Print Resources Bolstad, W. M., Hunt, Lyn A., and McWhirter, Judith L. “Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll Survey in First-Year Service Course in Statistics,” The American Statistician, 55, Duke, Johnny I. “Service Learning: Taking Mathematics into the Real World,” The Mathematics Teacher, 92, Holcomb, John P. And Ruffer, Rochelle L., “Using a Term-Long Project Sequence in Introductory Statistics,” The American Statistician, 54, Kvam, Paul H. “The Effect of Active Learning Methods on Student Retention in Engineering Statistics,” The American Statistician, 54,

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Print Resources Ledolter, Johannes. “Projects in Introductory Statistics Courses,” The American Statistician, 49, Ritter, Mary Ann, Starbuck, Robert R., and Hogg, Robert V. “Advice From Prospective Employers on Training BS Statisticians,” The American Statistician, 55, Root, Rob and Thorme, Trisha. “Community-Based Projects in Applied Statistics: Using Service-Learning to Enhance Student Understanding,” The American Statistician, 55, Wiseman, Frederick and Chatterjee, Sangit. “Major League Baseball Player Salaries: Bringing Realism into Introductory Statistics Courses,” The American Statistician, 51,

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Internet Resources This site provides the database and materials that accompany the project described in Holcomb and Ruffer’s article. This is the USA Today site for Major League Baseball salaries from 1988 through the current season. This is the USA Today site for NFL salaries from the 2000 season to date. This is the USA Today site for NBA salaries for the 2000/2001 year. The official site of the US Census Bureau, which contains a wealth of statistical information.

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