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Re: Help with a school project, a statistical survey on education
Posted:
Jul 20, 2007 11:14 AM


On Fri, 20 Jul 2007 14:55:28 0000, loom91 <loom91@gmail.com> wrote:
>Hi, > >The students of statistics in my highschool have to do a project. The >topic we have chosen is Educational Performance in Kolkata Schools and >Its Relation to Gender and Gender Interactions. I outline our goals >below: > >1)Collect data about Madhyamik results (a centralised exam organised >by the state education board to pass the 10th grade). We will sample >marks from allboys schools, allgirls schools and coeducational >schools. We have selected the schools to be of similar average >educational performance. The average socioeconomic condition of the >students is also approximately the same, hopefully eliminating that >variable. > >2)We will examine various parameters of the marks, with emphasis on >the difference between the boys schools and the girls schools. These >include central tendencies, standard deviations, skewness etc. We will >also examine the myth that girls are relatively stronger at humanities >subjects while boys are stronger at science subjects. We may also >examine if the population is heterogeneous (that is, whether 'good >students' and 'bad students' form two distinctly distributed >populations). > >3)We will then analyse the data obtained from the coeducational >schools and try to determine if the coeducational environment lessens >the difference between boys and girls. > >Now, we are all grossly inexperienced and this is the first time we >will attempt a statistical study instead of working in out classrooms >with provided data. I'm eagerly seeking suggestions from experienced >persons about possible pitfalls and how to make our results >statistically meaningful. > >I'm also looking for specific help on the following topics: > >i)What is a suitable measure of whether girls are stronger at some >subjects while boys at other subjects? I'm thinking of comparing the >percentage of total marks obtained in one subject, standardised >against the whole population. For example, consider the variable X = >percentage of total marks earned in History+Geography. Next, we define >the standardised (wrt the entire population) variate corresponding to >X, let it be Z. Now we compute the mean of Z over the girls schools >([itex]E_1(Z)[/itex]) and the mean over the boys schools ([itex]E_2(Z) >[/itex]). > >If the first value is larger than the second value (it seems one will >have to be positive and the other negative), then we may say that >girls prefer humanities more over other subjects than boys. Next we >can do the same analysis on the boys vs girls population in coed >schools and see if the difference is less. By using the absolute marks >instead of expressing it as percentage of total marks, we can also >compare the relative performance (as opposed to preference) of boys >and girls in humanities. The same can be done for languages and >sciences. Is this a statistically sound measure (unlikely, since I >just made it up)? What are the alternatives? > >ii) What is a good way of identifying whether the population in a >school indeed consists of discreet stratas? This could be good >students/bad students (there is indication from previous results that >this may be the case) or in coed schools boys/girls (very likely the >case). In case of coed schools, there may even be four stratas: good >boys, good girls, bad boys, bad girls. It will be interesting to study >whether bad boys vs girls show more difference than good boys vs >girls. All this sounds very pretty, but I don't know how to separate >the population into stratas. > >iii)Is there some easily available (preferably free) software that >will let me do all this analysis (brownie points for fitting >probability distributions and graphing)? It would be a nightmare to do >this by hand since we usually work with less than 50 data points >instead of several hundred. > >iv)As it stand right now, we will sample two boys schools, two girls >schools and one coed school. Is this enough to be statistically >significant? How many data points should we sample from each school? >Should this be a constant or proportional to the total number of >students? > >v)Finally, is the whole proposition so glaringly ridiculous that all >serious statisticians will simply laugh at it? I hope not :redface: > >I hope you will help out. We have in all probability bitten off more >than we can chew. But we are hoping to do some meaningful work >publishable in a journal, so we need all the help we can get. I will >also be very grateful if you give me the email of someone who may be >able and willing to help. We will be marked for this in our school >finishing (and career determining) central exams, so this is very >important to our whole class. Thanks a lot. > >Molu
You ask many thoughtful questions. Here's one point to think about. You say "We have selected the schools to be of similar average educational performance. " Doesn't this greatly reduce the chances of finding differences in average performance of samesex or coed schools? Dick Startz



