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Topic: Fwd: Book Styles -Reply
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Al Coons

Posts: 898
Registered: 12/4/04
Fwd: Book Styles -Reply
Posted: Feb 26, 1996 7:26 PM
  Click to see the message monospaced in plain text Plain Text   Click to reply to this topic Reply

>Al Coons I wrote:
>

>>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).


Mr. Jones Replied

>>i infer that Mr Coons has never looked at a mathematical statistics book.

It might be worth noting that my previous paragraph said

>Now a disclaimer - I am not in any danger of falling into the trap of
thinking a pretty book, with lots of interesting pictures, graphics, side
bars, examples, stories, and biographies is necessarily better. In fact,
since most of my students are going to the best colleges I am particularly
concerned that I find a book with enough rigor.

Three points:

1) The fact that a book is written in a way that students might learn best
does not eliminate rigor. My message asked for both rigor and a more
interesting presentation. Note that mathematics and statistics are front
runners for the least liked subjects - there has to be reasons for this and
those reasons have to be addressed.

2) The argument (that has been mentioned a few times in the last week) that
because college statistics books are a certain way and that this is an AP
course does not suggest that college books are better or worse for high
school students. It only implies that they are the type of books used in
college! They may or may not be appropriate for a high school in which
classes have between 10 and 20 students, computers for each pair of students
are in the classroom, and highly motivated students with strong backgrounds
who will rightly not put up with endless lectures.

3) Personal attacks in this medium only lead to less discussion.
Ironically, I have taken Mathematics Statistics Courses from a University
Mathematics Deparment in the last few years.


---------------------
Forwarded message:
From: tbrown@lville.pvt.k12.nj.us (Timothy Brown)
To: AlCoons@aol.com, apstat-l@etc.bc.ca
Date: 96-02-26 10:20:34 EST

Al Coons writes:

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

>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 wholeheartedly agree with your principles, Al, but I want to defend
the Moore and McCabe book. (I'm using it this year in our first
attempt at an AP course). While there isn't much in the book for
strictly visual learners, I think there is probably enough. Given
that it's supposed to be a AP course, we should be pushing kids to
learn how to handle "college" texts anyway. As for real-world
relevance, I think Moore and McCabe is excellent. For one nice
example, check out the discussion of outliers in Chapter 1. They
give great examples of improper inclusion and improper exclusion.

But what I like most about Moore and McCabe is the emphasis on
critical thinking. They play down calculations, formulas, etc., and
really do a nice job of getting across the fundamental principles of
describing data ("Look for a pattern and deviations from the
pattern"), drawing conclusions ("Do not let your calculations
override common sense"), and making inferences (Sorry, I can't come
up with a snappy quote). This approach is perfectly in turn with
E.T.S.'s avowed emphasis on the exam.

I have used three or four texts over the years (admittedly no others
on the recommended list), and none have come close to this one. It
has helped to make this course fun to teach so far.

By the way, I do not know either author, and I don't work for W.H.
Freeman! :-)







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