• Cobb attempts to make the claim that we have been too quick to dismiss the objective-format question means of assessment in statistics courses in favor of authentic assessment (e.g., projects, oral presentations, writing assignments).

  • The purpose of this paper is to aquaint individuals in the use of humor to develop conceptual understanding in statistics. Many statistics instructors are not as aware as they could be of the statistical humor available to them or how to use it as a conceptual development and assessment device in their instruction. The main objective, then, is to inform individuals of these many sources as well as how they can be used in the classroom to foster deeper conceptual understanding.

  • This research examines an implementation of an activity-based constructivist perspective to teach the concept of a sampling distribution of a statistic. A correct conception and understanding of the sampling distribution of a statistic is crucial for students to be able to understand and correctly interpret hypothesis tests and confidence intervals. In particular, a comparison is made between this constructivist method of instruction and a traditional transmission mode of instruction in terms of student attainment of the concept of sampling distributions. In addition, qualitative research methods were employed to gain comparative data and extensive descriptive information on learning outcomes of students involved in the constructivist/reform instructional method. In terms of an overall empirical measure of student understanding of sampling distributions, the activity-based constructivist method implemented here, promoted a deeper and more complete understanding. Such a test, however, obscures an interesting phenomenon, the activity-based constructivist strategy, counter to typical constructivist claims, does not promote conceptual understanding for all students. Qualitative analysis seems to indicate a very complex interaction concerning the epistemology the student brings to the class, the connection between the students' epistemology and the epistemology inherent in constructivist instructional methods, the content of the activity, prior educational experiences, and the social/academic atmosphere of the class/institution.

  • Twelve students answered questions involving the distribution of sample means both before and after an instructional intervention. Correct performance improved on these problems but dropped on problems having to do with the distribution of samples.

  • This paper reports on technological aspects of an ongoing international study in which secondary students engage in authentic data inquiries involving posing, sharing, and critiquing of statistical word problems. This is part of a larger study, which aims to (1) investigate developments in students' statistical understanding and reasoning processes as they engage in authentic data investigations involving data modeling, statistical problem posing, and problem critiquing, (2) foster students' awareness and appreciation of the influence of cultural factors in the statistical understandings of their international peers, (3) investigate the use of Web-based Intranets to enable schools connected to the Internet to conduct collaborative statistical investigations with students from other countries, and (4) use the findings of the study to develop a conceptual model of students growth of statistical understanding. In this paper, we focus on aim #3 and consider our developing experience in using semiprivate sites on the World Wide Web to facilitate activities in which students both publish mathematics problems that they have created and provide structured comments on problems posed by their local or international peers. To date, we have conducted a series of exploratory case studies in classrooms in England, Australia and Canada in which students posed and shared problems involving measures of central tendency (mean, median and mode). The problems were based on the results of an authentic, international dataset which they helped to create. The purpose of this paper is to discuss issues that have emerged in our present application of computer-mediated communication for fostering mathematical problem posing and critiquing. More specifically, we consider the following issues: the emergence of the Intranet design over the initial phase of the research project, the impact of the Intranet design on the effectiveness of computer-mediated communication in the key stages of the project, and the implications for subsequent Intranet designs for networked collaborative problem-posing activities.

  • Because assessment drives student learning, it can be used as a powerful tool to encourage students to adopt deep rather than surface learning strategies. Many standard assessment questions tend to reinforce the memorization of procedures rather than the understanding of concepts. To counteract this trend, some techniques for constructing questions that test understanding of concepts and that address specific goals of statistical education are described and illustrated with examples.

  • In an effort to align evaluation with new instructional goals, authentic assessment techniques (see, e.g., Archbald and Newman, 1988, Crowley, 1993, and Garfield, 1994) have recently been introduced in introductory statistics courses at the University of the Pacific. Such techniques include computer lab exercises, term projects with presentations and peer reviews, take-home final exam questions, and student journals. In this article, I discuss the University of the Pacific's goals and experiences with these techniques, along with strategies for more effective implementation.

  • What can we as instructors do to improve the quality of student learning and our own teaching? A great deal of research findings that were compiled in the 1980s are available to inform teaching in the 1990s. These research findings can be used by statistics teachers to improve the quality of student learning and their own teaching. The purpose of this paper is to illustrate assessment methods that can be used by the instructor to improve student learning and hence our teaching. Principles of good teaching based on research and ways to implement these principles in statistics classes are presented, which, in turn, will assist a faculty member in gathering information about the learning of his or her students and about his or her teaching. This paper is divided into four sections. The first section addresses the question as to why assess the statistics course. In the second section, the topic is what to assess in the statistics course, whereas how to assess the statistics course follows in the third section. After all of the data are gathered, what you do with the assessment information is the focus of the last section.

  • Many of today's university undergraduate curricula include two seemingly conflicting themes: (1) increase the quality of teaching to include emphasis on pedagogical elements, such as active learning, in the undergraduate statistics classroom; and (2) cope with a decrease in teaching resources. In this paper, a means by which a department of mathematics or statistics can maintain and increase its standards of teaching excellence in introductory statistics while coping with ever-increasing budgetary pressures is proposed. This process involves promoting what we call cooperative teaching, applying the concepts

  • This paper describes an educational tool, Critiquing Statistics, that is designed to foster and facilitate reasoning about statistical investigations involving descriptive statistics (e.g., measures of central tendency and variability) in middle school. This tool is being developed as part of a large scale research project emphasizing statistical investigation where students generate a research question; collect, analyze, interpret, and represent data; and communicate results to peers. However, the objective of this particular tool is to provide students with a critiquing activity that enhances students reflection on their own statistical investigations and those of others. In this way, Critiquing Statistics is intended to promote self-assessment and learning as well as reasoning. Students are given opportunities to enhance their reasoning skills by critiquing statistical investigations performed by former students, after having conducted their own research. Discussions about what could be done better in the statistics projects is facilitated through technology that allows students to view digitized videotapes as well as appropriate data and graphics files. These discussions are guided by an understanding of assessment criteria for investigations, which the Critiquing Statistics environment opens up for public viewing. Students engage in small group discussions of these criteria and apply them to the projects they are required to assess. This activity thereby promotes dialogue about the appropriateness of statistical methods, data collection procedures, graphical representations, analyses, and interpretation of data. Such discussions can be used to build a community of scientific reasoners who share their knowledge, reasoning, and argumentation.