Author Archives: Karsten Maurer

About Karsten Maurer

Karsten is an assistant professor in the Miami University Department of Statistics - with research and teaching interests in statistics education, data visualization and statistical learning

Challenges of a Small Scale Experimental Approach for Comparing SBI to Other Curricula

Karsten Maurer, Assistant Professor of Statistics, The Miami University

As statisticians, we tend to think that if we just have enough data in front of us then we can get at the heart of what is going on in any scenario and many statistics educators want to know what is going on with student learning outcomes from different curricula. So the solution is simple, right? Just collect a bunch of data on our students’ learning outcomes under different curricula and identify the strongest pedagogy. We can even get fancy and toss in some experimental design to structure the application of treatments to our experimental units to support causal conclusions about impacts on learning outcomes. Alright, I am being facetious here. It is never that straight forward. I will admit that this was my first instinct when I set out to do educational research as a graduate student. There are a number of issues that constrain plans for what would be a tidy and straightforward educational experiment: defining the curricular treatments, assigning students to curricula, applying the curricular treatments, measuring learning outcomes.

[pullquote]In order to reinforce the analyses from small-scale educational experiments like ours, we need to find a way to either eliminate or account for the classroom-based dependence structures.[/pullquote]

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Are introductory statistics students ready to be laced up for the bootstrap?

Karsten Maurer – Iowa State University


In this post, I provide my opinion on whether or not we should teach the bootstrap in introductory statistics courses.  I think this question is best answered in two parts: (1) can introductory students generally understand bootstrapping concepts and (2) is the additional bootstrapping material beneficial for student learning. The first component is effectively questioning “can we?” which is necessary before we try to answer the question, “should we?” My short answer to both of these is an emphatic, yes!  We can and should teach the bootstrap in introductory statistics courses.  My slightly longer answer follows in the remainder of this post.[pullquote]My short answer … is an emphatic, yes!  [/pullquote]

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