# STATS Issue 50 Spring 2009

This issue contains articles on: The predictive model used by the website FiveThirtyEight.com during the 2008 Presidential election, the design and implementation of an election day exit poll by statistics students, a description of the randomization measures taken to ensure fairness and transparency in the awarding of development grants to farmers in the Republic of Georgia, an explanation of the Item-Matching problem and the Coupon-Collecting problem, together with R code for simulating both problems, and a review of the book, Applied Spatial Statistics for Public Health Data.
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Date Of Record Creation 2010-09-01 14:23:00 2010-09-01 14:25:00 2010-09-01 14:25:00 June 8, 2010 T&L Webinar Concetta DePaolo http://www.poisonapplet.com/ greenl@ltcc.edu 2010-05-20 Pompeu Fabra University American Statistical Association Lake Tahoe Community/Technical College Viewers can also download the PowerPoint slides http://www.mathspace.com/NSF_ProbStat/Teaching_Materials/Materials_High_School_Teachers/CI%20for%20p Internet browser, flash plug-in, sound card for video This resource provides an odd combination of (1) a very simple treatment of probability and (2) an introduction to Type I and Type II errors. Separately, either of these could be worth studying in the format presented here. As a pair, they don't fit together very well; nor is either of them presented particularly well here. Ultimately, the student gets a tiny bit each of two not-so-simple concepts rather than a deeper exploration of one of the two. The Assessment module asks three trivial questions about probability and one about Type I error. The number of decimal places required is a little inconsistent. For example, the one-sided critical z-value for alpha=.05 is to be entered as 1.645, but the value for alpha=.01 is to be entered as 2.33. A good thing is that the author does make note of this and the applet is set up to accept both 1.645 and 1.65. Also, several times as I was reviewing the module, it froze and I had to refresh the page in the middle of a problem. This could prove frustrating to students. It could be a unique problem related to the computer being used, however. This module allows students to repeatedly practice a necessary skill. It allows for multiple attempts, provides feedback and hints, and includes an instructional video. There are several examples that go step by step and give hints. I'm concerned about the applet freezing up, which happened 3 times as I was reviewing it. There are hints available and a movie tutorial. The module is highly interactive and engaging. I do not feel as though all topics a student should know were covered in this tutorial, namely appropriate use of z and t tables, and introduction to p-values. To be fair, however, it does not appear that the author intends for this applet to be a stand-alone lesson given the disclaimer at the beginning of the tool. This resource seems like it could be more of a rote practice tool than a conceptual discovery tool. There were many examples that allowed the student to get plenty of practice. This module provides practice in a simple and consistent way. One of the complaints I see from students is that each problem seems so different and they don't know when to do what. I think practice with this module would help with that. It would be easy to provide this material as an online resource to students. The material keeps track of the questions students get correct, and this is a nice touch. 1