Teaching Introductory Statistics (for instructors new to teaching Intro Stats)

Presented by

Carolyn Cuff, Westminster College; and Michael Posner, Villanova University

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010


In May, 2005, the American Statistical Association endorsed the Guidelines for Assessment and Instruction in Statistics Education (GAISE). The guidelines were created to give sufficient structure to instructors and yet allow sufficient generality to include good practices in the many flavors of the first statistics course. This workshop will consider the implementation of those guidelines in a first level statistics course. The workshop focuses on three questions:

  • What are the big ideas of statistics?
  • How can those big ideas be communicated to students?
  • What are effective evaluation and assessment tools?

The workshop begins to answer those questions through considering ways to engage students in statistical literacy and thinking. The contrast between conceptual and procedural understanding will be explained using examples. For most of the workshop, participants will engage in many of the classic activities that all statistics instructors should know. Different types of available technology and choices of texts will be explored. Internet sources of real data, activities, and best practices articles will be examined. Participants will find out how they can continue to answer the three questions by becoming involved in statistics education related conferences, newsletters, and groups.


Location: The workshop will be held at the Marriott San Francisco (about 1.5 blocks from Moscone West) at 55 Fourth Street, San Francisco, in room Pacific I.

Workshop session times: Tuesday, January 12, from 8:30am - 4:30pm.

Laptops: Participants are encouraged to bring their own laptops.

Lodging and transportation: Workshop participants are responsible for their own lodging and transportation. If attending JMM, we encourage you to book your hotel early to get the convention rates.

Parking: For those participants who are driving to the Marriott for the workshop, the closest available parking is at the corner of Fifth and Mission Streets, the cost is about $25 per day. Parking at the Marriott is for overnight guests only and is very expensive.

Meals: Workshop participants will be provided lunch during the workshop day.

Registration: There is no registration cost to attend this workshop, but registration is required. Workshop materials will be provided.

About the Presenters

Carolyn CuffCarolyn Cuff: Dr. Carolyn Cuff's undergraduate degree in mathematics is from Westminster College, New Wilmington, PA. She holds a master's and doctorate from Case Western Reserve University in Operations Research. Currently, she is Professor of Mathematics and Chair of the Mathematics and Computer Science Department at Westminster. Dr. Cuff was a member of the GAISE College Group, has chaired SIGMAA StatEd, served as a Council of Sections Representative for the ASA Section on Statistics Education, read AP Statistics exams for twelve years, and is currently on the joint committee of the ASA/MAA. She is a CAUSE advocate and has participated in reviewing and writing material for CAUSEweb.


Michael PosnerMichael Posner: Dr. Michael Posner holds a bachelor's in statistics and economics from the University of Rochester, a master's in statistics from Carnegie Mellon University, and a doctorate in biostatistics from Boston University. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Villanova University in Philadelphia. Dr. Posner has been involved in a number of public health studies and researches making causal inference from observational studies through the use of propensity scores. He combines his research with his passion for teaching through his educational research work, both in improving STEM education and statistics education research. Dr. Posner is currently the chair of the Special Interest Group of the Mathematical Association of America on Statistics Education and Executive Committee Member of the American Statistical Association's Section on Statistics Education as well as actively involved in the Math Science Partnership of Greater Philadelphia.