Conference Paper

  • Changes in educational assessment are currently being called for, both within the field of measurement and evaluation as well as in particular disciplines such as statistics. Tradional assessment of statistical knowledge typically look like textbook problems that either rely heavily on numerical calculations or on the ability to recall isolated pieces of information. Although this type of assessment seems to succed in providing instructors with a method for assigning numerical scores for determining letter grades ranking students within a course, these types of assessment rarly reveal information about how students actually understand and can reason with statistical ideas or apply their knowledge to solving statistical problems. As statistics instruction at the college level begins to change in response to calls for reform (e.g., Cobb, 1992) there is an even greater need for appropriate assessment methods and materials to measure students' understanding of probability and statistics and their ability achieve more relevant goals such as being able to explore data and to think critically using statistical reasoning. This paper attempts to summarize current trends in educational assessment and relate these to the assessment of student outcomes in a statistics course.

  • This paper discusses the background of the Hong Kong education system, the present status of statistics education in Hong Kong and the main weaknesses of the local statistics education. There are some suggestions for improvement offered.

  • Students in graduate-level applied statistical courses should be trained to manipulate realistic data bases which are sufficiently large and complex that they provide verisimilitude with respect to thesis studies and other real-world applications. At the University of Maryland, we have been integrating data base manipulation into our intermediate-level statistics instruction for several years. This presentation concentrates on several issues related to the use of data bases in statistical instruction: appropriate course level; desirable characteristics of data bases; the role of mainframe and microcomputer statistical software; integration of data base manipulation skills into instruction on statistical topics; and grading practices.

  • This paper discusses the practice of teaching and research in didactics.

  • Statistics is a useful and necessary tool required by large numbers of pupils for their project work in other subject areas. But what are these pupils learning in their Mathematics lessons to back up all this practical statistical work? What can the Mathematics teacher provide to develop the necessary skills? Often little consideration is given to the QUALITY of the data collected and the most appropriate method of selecting a sample for a particular purpose. Should the Mathematics teacher consider sampling methods and help pupils to understand the need for a representative sample? Can the microcomputer be utilised for a more practical approach geared to the child's understanding?

  • Statistical regression to the mean is not an easy concept to grasp, especially by students whose background in statistics and probability is limited. As a source of internal invalidity, however, it is an important concept to understand. It is perplexing to students to simply indicate that extreme scores regress to the mean; it is beyond most students to use a more complex mathematical approach. The procedure described in this paper is sufficiently detailed to show students how regression occurs without presenting complicated math. The procedure is based on earlier suggestions by Cutter and Levin.

  • This paper discusses various recommendations for courses and materials to be evaluated by programme staff.

  • Significance testing is one of the most controversial subjects in research (Morrison and Henkel, 1970) and also one of the most misunderstood topics in the learning of statistics (Falk, 1986: Falk and Greenbaum (in print)). In this paper we present the results from a theoretical and experimental study concerning University students' understanding about the logic of statistical testing. The theoretical study discusses epistemological issues concerning Fisher's and Neyman-Pearson's approach to hypothesis testing and their relationship to the problem of induction in experimental sciences. The experiment sample included 436 students from 7 different university majors. Some of these students had a theoretically oriented course in statistics, such as those reading Mathematics, whereas others had a practically oriented course in statistics, such as those reading Psychology. The item presented in this paper is part of a larger questionnaire, which includes 20 items, and refers to the kind of proof provided by the results of a test of hypotheses. Following the analysis of these students' arguments, we identify three main conceptions: a) the test of hypotheses as a decision rule which provides a criterion for accepting one of the hypotheses; b) the test of hypotheses as mathematical proof of the truth of one of the hypotheses and c) the test of hypothesis as an inductive procedure which allows us to compute the "a posteriori" probability of the null hypothesis.

  • This paper describes a recent and on-going development intended to enhance student learning by making use of individualised computerised assignments for a class of first year students at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

  • There are two main reasons for our interest in statistical reasoning in children. The first one is that research has shown that understanding of statistical principles, and their appropriate usage, are related to the quality of decisions, judgments and inferences people make. The second reason is that American children learn very little about statistics in school.