Introducing Concepts of Statistical Inference

Presented by

Allan Rossman & Beth Chance, Cal Poly - San Luis Obispo; and John Holcomb, Cleveland State University

Monday, June 22nd, 1:00 p.m - Wednesday, June 24th, 5:00 p.m


We present ideas and activities for helping students to learn fundamental concepts of statistical inference. Many of these are centered around a randomization-based curriculum rather than normal-based inference; they rely heavily on simulations, both tactile and computer-based. Our goals with this curriculum are to develop students' understanding of the process of statistical investigations and of key concepts of inference. We propose that this approach leads to deeper conceptual understanding, makes a clear connection between study design and scope of conclusions, and provides a powerful and generalizable analysis framework. We also present ideas and activities for introducing normal-based inference procedures as useful approximations to randomization-based ones. Activities are based on real data from genuine studies. Concepts related to significance testing and confidence intervals are presented. This hands-on workshop will feature participants working directly with student activities, which they can then implement in their own classrooms. We also discuss ideas for assessing student understanding of inference concepts, presenting preliminary results of our ongoing assessment/evaluation project.

Target Audience

Teachers of introductory statistics in colleges (including two-year colleges) and high schools.

Location and Logistics

The workshop will be held in The Blackwell's Pfahl Conference Center room 340. If you aren't sure where this is, enter The Blackwell and look for signs for the Bistro 2110 which is on the ground floor of Pfahl Hall, take the elevator next to the Bistro to the third floor. The workshop will begin on Monday, June 22, at 1:00pm. Monday's session will conclude at 5:00pm. The Tuesday and Wednesday workshop sessions will begin at 8:30am and conclude at 4:30pm. Lunch will be provided for workshop participants on Tuesday and Wednesday. Lodging will be provided for workshop participants at the University Plaza, 3110 Olentangy River Road, Columbus, Ohio on Monday and Tuesday nights. Additional nights lodging is available at the USCOTS rate of $99 per night. A hot breakfast buffet is included in the room rate. Transportation to and from the hotel to the workshop location will be provided at the beginning and the conclusion of the workshop session. The USCOTS registration fee will be waived for workshop participants. More details on the University Plaza can be found on their website, Please be aware that there is a significant amount of road and ramp closings - particularly on Rt 315 which has the easiest access to the area. Plan for extra time to get here. Feel free to check the Transportation section of the USCOTS website for details. See you there!

About the Presenters

Allan RossmanDr. Allan Rossman is a Professor in the Department of Statistics at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. His work has focused on developing curricular materials to support active learning approaches to teaching introductory statistics. With Beth Chance, he is co-author of the Workshop Statistics series of coursebooks and also of Investigating Statistical Concepts, Applications, and Methods. He and Dr. Chance have also co-edited STATS magazine and the Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on Teaching Statistics. Dr. Rossman has chaired the ASA's Section on Statistical Education and the ASA/MAA Joint Committee on Undergraduate Statistics. He is currently President of the International Association for Statistical Education and is Chief Reader-Designate for the AP Statistics program. He was the 2007 Program Chair for the Joint Statistical Meetings and was selected as a Fellow of the ASA in 2001.


Beth ChanceDr. Beth Chance is Professor of Statistics at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. She is co-author of Workshop Statistics and Investigating Statistical Concepts, Applications, and Methods with Allan Rossman. She is currently the assistant editor for the Statistics Education Research Journal and has been on the editorial board of the Journal of Statistics Education and The American Statistician. She has been involved with the AP Statistics for many years including serving on the test development committee. She is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association and the inaugural winner of the Waller Education Award for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching Introductory Statistics. Beth's primary research interests have been in the areas of effective uses of technology and assessment in introductory statistics.


John HolcombDr. John P. Holcomb, Jr. is a Professor in the Dept. of Mathematics at Cleveland State University. He was a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Statistics Education for six years, was a member of the ARTIST advisory board, and is a member of Research Advisory Board for CAUSE. He was program chair for the Section on Statistical Education for the 2002 Joint Statistical Meetings. In 2000, Dr. Holcomb was named a Carnegie Fellow by the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. He has given regional and national addresses advocating project use with real data in all levels of statistics courses. He has publications related to these pedagogical developments published in The American Statistician and Journal of Statistics Education. He received the ASA's Waller Education Award for innovation and excellence in teaching introductory statistics in 2003.

Workshop Agenda

Monday, June 22th
1:00-1:30Overview of randomization-based curriculum
1:30-2:45Activity: Simulating binomial test
3:00-4:00Activity: Confidence intervals via binomial test
4:00-5:00Activities for normal-based inference for a proportion
Tuesday, June 23rd
8:30-10:00Activity Simulating randomization test for 2x2 tables
10:15-11:30Activity Simulating randomization test for quantitative response
12:30-1:00Discussion of activities
1:00-2:15Activity Bootstrapping for confidence intervals
2:30-4:30Simulation activities for matched-pairs, ANOVA
Wednesday, June 24th
8:30-10:00Discussion of assessment issues, preliminary findings
10:15-11:30Continued discussion of assessment
12:30-2:15Simulation activities for regression, chi-square
2:30-4:00Discussion of implementation issues
4:00-4:30Wrap-up, evaluations