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OA Statistical Thinking Approach to Introductory Statistics: Theory and PracticePPG. Rex Bryce Brigham Young University
Roger Hoerl General Electric
Ron Snee Tunnell Consulting
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I@AWhy Focus the Intro Course on Statistical Thinking?(The Theory)$BP@$$
JAThe Problems
zStatistical thinking and methods
 Not valued by students, and society in general
 Gap exists between Actual and Potential use
Feelings of many people
 Statistics is complex, abstract, boring, not relevant
 I can never remember the formulas
 I can never get the right answers
Bottom line 
 There is general agreement that the introductory
course is inadequate and needs to be replacedL"opKB"The Statistics Profession Responds##Numerous improvements implemented
 Focus on concepts versus formulas
 Use of real data and examples versus textbook problems
 Use of class exercises and other experiential learning
Unfortunately, many problems remain
 No underlying theory or clear course objectives to guide revisions
 Statistics still depicted as something others do
 Students still see a collection of tools no unifying big picture
Bottom line Good start, but we have a long way to go!r#ZZ$ZZ8Z!LCHow Do We Solve This Problem?Use first 3 steps of our Problem Solving Model
What s the Problem?
What are the Causes of the Problem
What s the Solution?
p/P;$$$$$$$~MDFStudents Still Have Problems Seeing How Statistics is Relevant to ThemGG.Emphasis is on individual tools how do they fit?
Statistics is viewed as something interesting rather than something useful
 Ex: Salk Polio Vacine, Draft lottery, Drug efficacy
 Statistics only proves what we already know
 Students see themselves as Consumers of statistics rather than Producers of statistics
Focus is on static populations rather than dynamic processes  which affect us all and need improvement
Focus is on oneshot tests rather than sequential applications  which is our reality 4 yNE"Key Differences Between Approaches##OF%Our Suggestion for Your Consideration&& Current unstated objective  making intro students experts in all statistical methods
 Is not a realistic expectation
Business world does not need or expect this.
Business world wants people who
 Have a continuous improvement mindset,
 Can study and improve processes,
 Understand variation and can apply the concept,
 Can effectively use graphical analysis techniques,
 Believe in data based decision making.6Z(NPG&Suggestion (cont d) Appropriate objectives that emphasize understanding of, and ability to apply, key concepts, would better:
 Satisfy business customers, and
 Set the stage for future, more advanced courses
taught by academic customers.
Benefit  Students would:
 Understand why they are learning a technique,
 What it actually does, and
 When it would be appropriate to use it.
These benefits are typically glossed over or totally missed in the traditional course focused on mechanics.JjZZZZlZ5QH&Suggestion (cont d) So what are the key changes in the students view of the world that we should be creating in the intro course?
All work is a process  any activity can be studied, and the results improved.
Variation happens  variation exists in all activities and all data.
Appropriate data help us study and improve .
In many cases, reducing variation is the key to improvement, even when the objective is to move the process average (i.e., in golf).
Many people call this stuff Statistical Thinking .HqI4qIRI#An Example of Such a Mindset Change$$ t I was introduced to Statistical Thinking in October, 1988 when I attended Heero Hacquebord s course on Statistical Thinking for Leaders . I went into the course thinking that I already knew everything I needed to know about SPC. I came out of the course with a whole new perspective on statistics, looking upon SPC and other statistical applications more as a way of thinking about processes so we can learn how to improve them. I also found that I could never again be satisfied with looking at numbers without graphical analysis .
Tom Pohlen (Chemist at 3M)< X,NSJWhat is Statistical Thinking?$m Statistical Thinking is a philosophy of learning and action based on the following fundamental principles:
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033mTKUL#Value of Using Statistical Thinking$$ Process focus provides the context and relevancy for using statistical methods
How we do our work for our customers
Results in broader and more effective use of statistical methods
All parts of the organization
Manage and improve processes
Guide strategic and managerial action
Provides suction for statistical methodsOZ%ZAZZ%6a+VMSummary$ZProblem
 Lack of value for statistical thinking and methods
 Missed opportunities for students and employers
Causes  Introductory statistics courses
 Do not match the needs of today
 Are not taught in an interesting way
Solution
 Focus content on Statistical Thinking
 Improve the delivery of the courses)U YsxY` ` ` ̙33` 333MMM` ff3333f` f` f` 3>?" dd@?" dd@ " @ ` n?" dd@ @@``PR @ ` `p>>
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