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Topic: Book Styles (fwd)
Replies: 2   Last Post: Feb 25, 1996 9:46 AM

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Bob Hayden

Posts: 2,384
Registered: 12/6/04
Book Styles (fwd)
Posted: Feb 24, 1996 5:21 PM
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> I have been looking through some of the books for my AP Stat class for next
> year. The first thing that strikes me is that many of them have little or
> no life in their presentations - only words, graphs, and problem sets.
> No wonder statistics is boring and difficult to understand (not to you and me
> but to so many students). From what I can gather "Introduction to the
> Practice of Statistics", Moore & McCabe, seems to be a book which is
> generally well accepted and used in many programs. It is 700 pages of text
> with a few charts and a minimum number of plots. It reads like a text for a
> college non-applied mathematics text (again fine for you and me).

Well, this IS supposed to be a college course, isn't it?!-)

It is
> hard to believe that this type of presentation matches up best with the
> learning styles of the majority of our students.

The general purpose statsitics textbooks (as opposed to _Statistics
for Miners_ books) are generaally sold to college mathematics and
statistics professors, people who generally have rather severe tastes.
The stats. books are generally a lot more colorful than the college
algebra books! How well the books match the students tastes is
another matter. Moore's _Basic Practice of Statistics_ and the book
by Andy Siegel (both on the AP Stats. list) are probably more
accessible, but probably do not go far enough for you.

> At the other extreme is a book I just received today: "Elementary
> Statistics", 7th Edition, Robert Johnson, Duxbury. When I flip through it I
> see the type of graphical explanations of concepts that we all use when we
> teach, do a computer simulation, or seen in a top rate statistics video. As
> you flip through Johnson your first impression is that Statistics lives, is
> interesting, has a history, is connected to the real world, that data,
> results, and processes can be visualized.
> I AM NOT SUGGESTING THAT Johnson is a better book. In fact, does anyone
> know it well enough to give me an opinion? I have read just a bit and some
> parts were good but at least one explanation was very convoluted as a result
> of efforts to stick with a confusing real world situation.

Do you know where the author teaches? A middle initial might help!

> What I am suggesting is that I would hate to have to adopt a book like Moore
> and MacCabe no matter how good its prose and theory are. We all learn well
> from visual presentations. In this day and age our students rightly expect
> visual clues. We want our students to see the connections between the real
> world and their nightly work. You and I make these connections
> automatically, but the student (even those who get A's) frequently do not.
> It is not their fault - they need a context to develop those connections.

There are videos which Moore recommends using with the text.

> I also received: "A Data-Based Approach to Statistics", Iman, Duxbery and
> "Statistics, The Exploration and Analysis of Data", 2nd Edition, Devore and
> Peck. Any have any opinions on these?

They are certainly reputable, though I think they are heavier going
than any of the other books mentioned above.

There is an important difference between college statistics textbooks
and college mathematics textbooks. Looking at AP calculus books, I
think it would be rare to find one that did not have at least one
Ph.D. mathematician involved in writing it. You can generally assume
the content is correct and just look at the pedagogy. Statistics
books, on the other hand, are often written by people with NO degrees
in statistics, so you really need to be concerned about whether the
authors know what they are talking about. Every author mentioned
above in this message is a reputable statistician (assuming Robert
Johnson is the one at Virginia Commonwealth University), but you can't
take that for granted with books in general. (You can take it for
granted for the books recommended for AP Stats. by the College Board.)


| | Robert W. Hayden
| | Department of Mathematics
/ | Plymouth State College
| | Plymouth, New Hampshire 03264 USA
| * | Rural Route 1, Box 10
/ | Ashland, NH 03217-9702
| ) (603) 968-9914 (home)
fax (603) 535-2943 (work)

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