22
Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics A course for Statistical Literacy Katherine Tranbarger Amherst College NECQL X April 29, 2006

# Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

aqua

• View
56

0

Embed Size (px)

DESCRIPTION

Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics. A course for Statistical Literacy Katherine Tranbarger Amherst College NECQL X April 29, 2006. Where it began. UCLA CUTF program 15 courses per year No pre-requisites 10-20 First & Second year students Writing& Discussion intensive - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Citation preview

Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

A course for Statistical Literacy

Katherine TranbargerAmherst College

NECQL X April 29, 2006

Where it began

• UCLA CUTF program 15 courses per year No pre-requisites 10-20 First & Second year

students Writing& Discussion

intensive No curriculum overlap 10 weeks with 2 course

meetings per week

Stat 98T - Making Sense of Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

• Statistics are cited to sway our opinion on everything from which toothbrush dentists prefer to how crime rates have changed. This seminar focuses not on their calculation, but on the critical evaluation of statistics that are presented to us everyday.

Tour through the Twists and Turns of Math Abuse and Innumeracy” by A.K. Dewdney

• “How to Lie with Statistics” by Darrell Huff

• “The Cartoon Guide to Statistics” by Larry Gonick and Woollcott Smith

Basic Schedule

from books on new topic complete

Class lecture on new topic basics

Any necessary foundation for next articles

• Tuesday Article response

papers due Class discussion on

Sampling of Topics

• Sampling and Data Collection• Data Summary• What’s missing?• Randomness and Distributions• Standard Error and Variation• Correlation ≠ Causation• Probability Basics

Weekly Response Papers

• 1-2 page response to the reading that addresses posed questions relating to what statistics were of importance in the reading, what if anything was questionable about the statistics, how they might be presented better (if applicable),and what questions, if any, are left unanswered or are raised by the article.

Midterm Paper

• Using at least three of these six articles, what can be said about causes of breast cancer? What are the limitations of the studies presented? Which statements made are legitimate and which statements are questionable? What additional information would you like to see presented about these studies?

Presentation & Final Paper

• Find an article that cites a statistic, uses some type of graph, and gives some background into the study it references. Discuss the strength of the study design as well as the printed results and their reliability. What can be learned from the article? What conclusions can not be reached from the study’s results and why?

• 10-minute oral presentations given to the class on the article selected and student findings.

Challenges

• Designed for 1st and 2nd year students with no statistical background

• Only one First-year student - juniors and seniors enrolled as well

• Only one student had not taken at least one statistics course (some had 2 or 3)

Feedback

• “I will take more statistics because of this course.”

• “I enjoyed this course and I think it’s a shame that it will not be taught in the future. I intend on pursuing a minor in statistics and this course helped solidify my plans.”

• “I feel that she taught me something valuable. It was sometimes difficult to write the papers and I enjoyed the numbers more.”

Math 9: Lies and Statistics

• Capped at 20 students to allow discussion - filled in pre-registration so again there weren’t many first-year students

• 2 students had taken AP Stat

• 13 weeks with three class meetings per week

Basic Schedule

• Discussion every day first two weeks• Two days of lecture followed by one

day of discussion Just the basics in first lecture More refined points plus activity second

lecture Discussion focused on take-home

readings but new related material sometimes presented

• “Damned Lies and Statistics: Untangling Numbers from the Media, Politicians, and Activists” by Joel Best

• “The Cartoon Guide to Statistics” by Larry Gonick and Woollcott Smith

• “How to Lie with Statistics” by Darrell Huff.

• “Statistics: A Guide to the Unknown, 4th ed” by Peck et al.

Midterm

• 15 articles on pay inequality by gender• Assignment:

Write two articles about pay differences by gender using the evidence presented in the provided materials- one claiming discrimination, one claiming legal/economic explanations

Write two rebuttal response papers highlighting the statistical weaknesses in your two articles.

Presentation & Final Paper

• Each student assigned one article from “Statistics: A Guide to the Unknown” to become an expert on

• 5-7 minute presentations with questions

• Peer review papers• Final papers due in finals week

Challenges

• Writing ability• Discussion inspired same few to

speak up

Goals

• By the end of this course it is intended that you will: Become educated consumers of statistical

information found in mass media Understand the importance of proper study

design and data collection. Recognize common approaches to misleading

the public with statistics

Goals

• By the end of this course it is intended that you will: Learn the difference between statistically

significant results, and results with practical significance

Know what the +/- 3% means on commonly cited poll results and where it comes from

Develop the ability to accurately and clearly communicate statistical information to others.

ARTIST Post-test

• Scores ranged from 42.5% to 80%• Average = 60.2• Median = 62.5

• 77.5% average in more traditional intro statistics course - Math 17.

Feedback

• “Responses forced us to consider the material, and we had to understand them well in order to express them in the responses.”

• Some students wanted more discussion

• Some students wanted more computational homework and less discussion

Future Offerings

• Keep to no more than 15 students• 2 times a week for 75 minutes rather

than 3 times for 50• More group/activity work• More peer review of papers plus re-

write opportunities• 2 presentations