A study of the interaction between the use of statistical software and the data analysis process

The Second International Conference on Teaching Statistics, 1986
McKenzie, J. D. Jr., Rybolt, W. H., & Kopcso, D. P.
Davidson, R., & Swift, J.
The Second International Committee on Teaching Statistics
Victoria, B.C.

Those familiar with a statistical package are often surprised at how long it takes a novice to accomplish even a simple task. In a college environment, students often complain about the countless hours spent on a simple assignment. An examination of their computer printouts and written work often fails to reveal where the students spent their hours. Unfortunately, it is possible for students to understand conceptually what to do but still not be able to do it. In an effort to learn where students actually ran into difficulty and discover more about the types of mistakes they were making, we undertook a series of experiments at Babson College. These experiments involved two instructors each teaching two sections of an applied statistics course. There were 154 undergraduate students in these four sections. an extensive set of references dealing with this area may be found in Kopcso, McKenzie, and Rybolt (1985). References to our past work and another recent article are present at the end of this paper.