Kari Lock Morgan, Assistant Professor of Statistics, Penn State University
Computers (or miniature versions such as smart phones) are necessary to do simulation-based inference. How then can we assess knowledge and understanding of these methods without computers? Never fear, this can be done! I personally choose to give exams without technology, despite teaching in a computer classroom once a week, largely to avoid the headache of proctoring a large class with internet access. Here are some general tips I’ve found helpful for assessing SBI without technology:
Much of the understanding to be assessed is NOT specific to SBI. In any given example, calculating a p-value or interval is but one small part of a larger context that often includes scope of inference, defining parameter(s), stating hypotheses, interpreting plot(s) of the data, calculating the statistic, interpreting the p-value or interval in context, and making relevant conclusions. The assessment of this content can be largely independent of whether SBI is used.
In lieu of technology, give pictures of randomization and bootstrap distributions. Eyeballing an interval or p-value from a picture of a bootstrap or randomization distribution can be difficult for students, difficult to grade, and an irrelevant skill to assess. Here are several alternative approaches to get from a picture and observed statistic to a p-value or interval without technology:
Choose examples with obviously small or not small p-values.