Th-06: Survey of Attitudes toward Probability

By Elizabeth Eisenhauer & Matthew Beckman (Pennsylvania State University)


We adapted an existing survey called the Survey of Attitudes Toward Statistics (SATS-36; Schau et al., 1995) to assess students' attitudes toward probability. Elementary probability courses are a common component of the statistics and data science curriculum. While the SATS-36 and other tools have become popular for assessing students' attitudes toward statistics, very few studies have assessed attitudes of students in probability courses toward the subject of probability. We distributed our Survey of Probability Attitudes (SPA) virtually among students at the beginning and end of a range of probability courses at Penn State University Park campus in the fall semester of 2020. We received over 600 responses to the pre-survey and over 500 responses to the post-survey. On average, we saw negative shifts in all attitude components. Our survey tool could expand opportunities for probability instructors to inform their teaching practices with data. Instructors could use the SPA to develop teaching practices which improve probability attitudes for students who might otherwise leave the field altogether, thus also expanding opportunities for underprepared and underrepresented students to feel confident pursuing an area of study they might not have felt comfortable pursuing otherwise.


Th-06 - Survey of Attitudes toward Probability.pdf