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Topic: Help with a school project, a statistical survey on education
Replies: 15   Last Post: Jul 13, 2013 4:14 PM

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Posts: 17
Registered: 4/25/06
Re: Help with a school project, a statistical survey on education
Posted: Jul 26, 2007 7:32 AM
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On Jul 20, 7:55 pm, loom91 <> wrote:
> Hi,
> The students of statistics in my high-school 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 all-boys schools, all-girls schools and co-educational
> schools. We have selected the schools to be of similar average
> educational performance. The average socio-economic 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 co-educational
> schools and try to determine if the co-educational 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

Anyone else have any suggestions? Thanks.


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