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Topic: The Introductory Statistics Course: A New Approach
Replies: 0

 Donald Macnaughton Posts: 8 Registered: 12/6/04
The Introductory Statistics Course: A New Approach
Posted: May 16, 1996 9:08 PM

[I've posted this message to five lists where there may be
interest. Apologies to recipients who receive multiple copies.]

Two former presidents of the American Statistical Association
have stated that "students frequently view statistics as the
worst course taken in college" (Hogg 1991, Iman 1994). A third
former president has stated that the field of statistics is in a
"crisis", and the subject has become "irrelevant to much of
scientific enquiry" (Box 1995). Many statisticians reluctantly
agree with these remarks.

On the other hand, many statisticians will agree that the field
of statistics is a fundamental tool of the scientific method.
Many will also agree that the scientific method plays a vital
role in modern society. Thus rather than being a worst course,
and possibly irrelevant, the introductory statistics course ought
to be a friendly introduction to the simplicity, beauty, and
truth of the scientific method.

With that goal in mind, I have developed and tested a new approach
to the introductory statistics course. The approach is based on the
concepts of predicting and controlling the values of variables.
These concepts are important because they pervade science, and
because they provide a broad and deep foundation upon which a
teacher can build the field of statistics.

Abstracts and papers describing the approach are available at
http://www.hookup.net/~donmac

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Donald B. Macnaughton MatStat Research Consulting Inc.
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REFERENCES
Box, G. E. P. (1995), "Scientific Statistics - The Way Ahead
(abstract)," _1995 Abstracts: Summaries of Papers Presented at
the Joint Statistical Meetings,_ Alexandria, VA: American
Statistical Association, p. 38.
Hogg, R. V. (1991), "Statistical Education: Improvements Are Badly
Needed," _The American Statistician,_ 45, 342-343.
Iman, R. L. (1994), "The Importance of Undergraduate Statistics,"
_Amstat News,_ Number 215, December 1994, p. 6.