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Research

  • The purpose of this study was to evaluate the stability of attitudes toward the course and field of statistics over a year's time. Students were surveyed at the end of an intermediate (second) coure in statistics and again one year later. In line with previous studies, attitude scale scores were correlated with course grade. It was expected that this correlation would be positive but low as was found by others. Attitude scores were also correlated with GRE scores.

  • This study approached the investigation of attitudes toward statistics from the perspective of Rosenberg and Hovland's (1960) hierarchical, multicomponent model. In this model, cognition, affect, and behavior are considered interrelated first-order-factors with attitude a single second-order factor. In the present study, affective, cognitive, and behavioral components of attitude were assessed. Two other assessment tools were also administered for comparison purposes (Wise's ATA and a semantic differential measure). Data were gathered from 2 classes (n = 47) attended by master's and doctoral students in education, social work, and speech communication. Results suggest the strongest association is between affective and cognitive components but the greatest temporal stability was found for the behavioral component. Consistency in ratings of affect and cognition was not predictive of behavior nor was locus of attitude formation.

  • The effects of previous mathematics, statistics, and computer science coursework; attitudes toward statistics and computers; and mathematics ability on statistics achievement were studied for 289 college students over four semesters. A secondary purpose of the study was to determine the effect of the computer laboratory component of an inferential statistics class on students' end of course attitudes. No statistically significant differences were found between students taught with a computer laboratory and those taught without the computer component for attitudes toward statistics, but those taught by computer exhibited more positive attitudes toward the computer and less statistical anxiety at the end of the course.

  • The major objective of this study was to determine the relationship between academic performance in a statistics course and the students' attitude toward statistics, math self-concept, and attitudes toward tests. A secondary objective was to determine what relationships exist between students' attitudes toward statistics, math self-concept, and attitudes toward tests. A third objective was to investigate the relationship between students' mathematics background and attitude toward statistics, math self-concept, and attitude toward tests.

  • This study investigated the effect of attitudes toward mathematics-related coursework, previous mathematics coursework, student sex, spatial ability, and masculinity-femininity of interest pattern on statistics achievement. Subjects were 188 students from the inferential statistics classes taught at a midwestern university during 1977-1978. Instruments administered were five spatial visualization ability subtests of the Factor-Referenced Cognitive Tests, Fennema-Sherman Mathematics Attitudes Scales, the Masculinity-Femininity scale of the MMPI, the Attitudes Toward Feminist Issues Scale, and a biographical data sheet. Sex-related differences were found on two of the mathematics attitude scales, on three of the five spatial visualization subtests, and on the total points achieved in the statistics course. Regression analyses were performed to determine the predictors of success in statistics courses.

  • This paper reviews the literature on factors affecting students' performance in undergraduate statistics courses for the social sciences. Factors studied include anxiety, attitude, computer experience, and gender identity.

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