Journal Article

  • Our statistics course for introductory psychology is a group Keller course in which students are required to work in small groups. This brief paper reports that, despite earlier fears, it was found successful to let students form themselves into groups for the course.

  • This paper describes a comparison of the performance and preferences of students assigned to streamed groups with those of students assigned to mixed-ability groups.

  • One subject toward which many students have a negative attitude and a lack of enthusiasm is introductory statistics. The question is, therefore, can classroom techniques change negative attitudes and promote enthusiasm for statistics in addition to increasing test performance?

  • It is sometimes said that learning probability at an introductory level is not difficult since many probability questions are just questions about proportion. However, students often perform badly on probability questions and one reason for this might be an inadequate familiarity with proportions. In order to investigate this we developed a self-completion test instrument of 10 questions needing an understanding of proportion. Our students took about 25 minutes to complete this test. The questions were arranged with the simpler questions at the start, and the harder questions towards the end. The most difficult question, included partly as a way of finding out which students really did understand probability, asked students to find the chance that a pile of four bricks would reach five high before a pile of three bricks if new bricks were added at random to the two piles, shown as an outline diagram. This question, a version of one discussed by Monks (1985) is best tackled with a tree diagram. All questions, except one, were open-ended.

  • The Journal of Statistics Education has a unique structure and an inclusive philosophy that have technical consequences for readers and authors. This paper, a message from the journal's managing editor, explains why the JSE was built to have its unique structure, the format of information available to readers, and the effect the philosophy will have. The paper's Appendix also describes the purpose and contents of the associated methods of accessing the journal. The Appendix also describes the purpose and contents of the associated JSE Information Service.

  • This article describes our positive and negative experiences with the RS program and with the Simon and Bruce views on teaching.

  • This article is a reply to the critique of a previous paper.

  • Different sequences are reproduced or memorized with varying degrees of difficulty, depending on their structure. We obtained preliminary support for the hypothesis that difficulty of encoding is correlated with the perceived randomness of the sequence. Since the randomness of a sequence can be defined by its complexity, namely, the length of the shortest computer program for reproducing the sequence, we suggest that introducing randomness in terms of complexity may foster students' understanding. Subjective complexity, however, is maximal for sequences with exaggerated alternations, as is apparent-randomness. Thus, misperceptions of randomness cannot be corrected by the complexity approach. They can only be better understood.

  • This article is, in essence, a condensed extract from the comprehensive report Computers in the mathematics Curriculum (1992) recently published by the Mathematical Association and produced by a subcommittee of the Teaching Committee.

  • That women on the average tend to suffer from math anxiety and to perform less well in advanced mathematics classes, when they are found there at all, are repeatedly documented facts that operate as highly effective barriers to women's achievement in a variety of domains. As a math anxious individual, I avoided all math in high school and agonized through the necessary courses as a traditionally aged student in college, and again as a returning student in graduate school. It seems ironic that one of the first courses I instituted when I became a college professor at a small liberal arts college for women was an introductory statistics course. Social psychology is my discipline, however, and one of the changes I noted between the time I earned my bachelors degree in 1964 and the time I entered graduate school in 1977 was that women had become a great deal more visible in psychology, even powerful in some instances. It seemed to me that many of these women also tended to be first-rate statisticians; in fact, rather than being intimidated by numbers, these women were actually using sophisticated statistics to help write women back into psychology. I decided to do what I could to work through my own math anxiety, and, in turn, to try to teach statistics in such a way that others, regardless of their discipline, would find the subject approachable, useful, even fun from their first exposure at the college level. In the beginning, I conceived of the course as simply taking a math-anxious approach. As time has gone by, I have learned more about Feminism as a philosophy/ideology and have begun to recognize that what I had called a math-anxious approach to statistics was actually a Feminist approach. With that recognition, I have begun to apply those principles even more consciously.