The Math Forum

Search All of the Math Forum:

Views expressed in these public forums are not endorsed by NCTM or The Math Forum.

Math Forum » Discussions » Courses » ap-stat

Notice: We are no longer accepting new posts, but the forums will continue to be readable.

Topic: Difficult stat concepts
Replies: 1   Last Post: Nov 1, 1996 11:14 AM

Advanced Search

Back to Topic List Back to Topic List Jump to Tree View Jump to Tree View  
Joe H Ward

Posts: 743
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: Difficult stat concepts
Posted: Nov 1, 1996 11:14 AM
  Click to see the message monospaced in plain text Plain Text   Click to reply to this topic Reply

On Fri, 1 Nov 1996, Laura Thompson wrote:

> Date: Fri, 1 Nov 1996 05:28:35 -0500
> From: Laura Thompson <>
> To: Multiple recipients of list <>
> Subject: Re: Difficult stat concepts
> I think one of the reasons why basic probability (problems) are so hard for
> students to grasp is because they don't get enough practice. Why should
> probability be a concept that comes naturally to them? especially
> detailed "objective" problems.
> But how many intro courses can spend a lot of time on it?

Laura --

I don't have any strong feelings about AMOUNT OF TIME ON PROBABILITY.
However, I do feel that the sequence of dealing with UNCERTAINTY
(PROBABILITY INCLUDED) IS IMPORTANT. The important thing is to convince

We work from, what are call THE BIG-FOUR CONCEPTS :

Prediction, Uncertainty, Modeling, Optimization (PUMO for short).
(The ORDER of listing is only because, to most students, PUMO sounds better
than POMU!)

I have found that it is most logical for first-course students (including
high-school students) to discuss the ideas in the POMU order--eventually
bouncing around the four ideas as appropriate.

PREDICTION is fundamental to what everyone has to do all the time.

OPTIMIZATION involves CHOOSING from among Predicted Outcomes those that
are "best" (MAXIMIZE or MINIMIZE objective functions).

MODELING is useful for discussing the ways that are used to bring the
"relevant properties of reality" into the PREDICTION PROCESS.

UNCERTAINTY involves the many things that influence the accuracy of the
PREDICTION processes. This includes PROBABILITY.

Notice that UNCERTAINTY seems, in my observations from working with
first-course students, to be the last discussion item.

Of course, once these ideas are "on the table", the action jumps around
among all four.

-- Joe

P.S. - These ideas may be of little concern for STATISTICS education.
Perhaps the approach is more appropriate for those interested in

* Joe Ward 167 East Arrowhead Dr. *
* Health Careers High School San Antonio, TX 78228-2402 *
* Phone: 210-433-6575 *
* *

Point your RSS reader here for a feed of the latest messages in this topic.

[Privacy Policy] [Terms of Use]

© The Math Forum at NCTM 1994-2018. All Rights Reserved.