eCOTS 2012 - Virtual Poster #6

"Be the Statistician: An approach for the modern student"
with Melissa Sovak, California University of Pennsylvania

Hosted by: David Kline, The Ohio State University

One of the biggest challenges for a statistics professor is finding appropriate ways to measure a student's knowledge of introductory statistics. It is desirable to test a student's statistical reasoning ability, their ability to select and apply appropriate statistical methods to data and draw appropriate contextual conclusions. However, often, manufactured test questions fail to truly capture the student's understanding of material. This presentation will cover a unique approach to testing student's understanding and ability to relate ideas together in an introductory statistics course. "Be the statistician" is an assessment method intended to invite students to take on the role of a statistical consultant. The assessment asks students to deal with several different true-to-life statistical questions (based off of real-life examples) and provide consulting advice for each situation. Students are awarded points for identifying appropriate statistical approaches to analyze data and for providing a complete analysis, that is, one that provides a full analysis of the data including graphical displays, inference tests, etc. as opposed to an approach that merely considers one aspect of analysis. This presentation will share sample questions, grading rubrics and discuss the benefits of this type of exam versus a more traditional exam.

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Matthew Hayat:

Melissa, I really enjoyed your talk and slides. This is one of my favorites of those I've viewed. I wholeheartedly agree with your comments about statistical literacy, and expecting our students to go beyond calculations (test statistic, p-value, etc). This seems like a fun and creative way to approach things differently. Thanks for sharing, very nicely done. Matt

Melissa Sovak:

Thank you, Matt! I appreciate your comments!

Elizabeth Fry:

I really enjoyed this poster! I also agree that it's important to assess students' statistical reasoning and thinking, and I like how the students are following through with a problem beginning to end. This looks like a fun way to assess students that would engage them and remove some of the test anxiety that they often experience with traditional exams. Do they do these assessments inside or outside of class?

Melissa Sovak:

Hi Elizabeth, They normally do the assessments outside of class. As with many statisticians, we rarely make a formal recommendation during the first consultation with a client, rather we consider all options, formulate more questions and then work up an analysis plan.