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Topic: "blocking" in the course outline; what does it mean in practice?
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Registered: 12/6/04
"blocking" in the course outline; what does it mean in practice?
Posted: Jul 31, 1996 5:49 PM
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Last week I was at the AP Institute in St. Johnsbury, VT, where I was the
instructor for the AP Stats teachers. Not surprisingly, I seem to think
harder about concepts and principles when I'm responsible for
communicating them to others. Two issues arose last week that I had not
thought about before, that may bear examination by others on this list.

I'll submit one of them in this message, and the other in a separate

(1) The outline in the AP Statistics Course Description specifically
mentions "blocking" (p.6, item II.C.6), as does the draft version of the
Teacher's Guide (p.41, same item number). I find myself wondering if
this means that randomized block designs are part of the course. (There
is a nice diagram in David Moore's BPS, p.214, that helps us to "see" the
logic of the design--which he calls a "block design".)

As far as I know, an analysis of variance is the usual way of analyzing
the output from a randomized block design. But ANOVA is not part of the
course. So what is the AP Stats teacher supposed to do?

My guess (asserted last week at the Institute) is that students are
responsible for understanding the structure and purpose of the design
(see the Course Description, p.27, question 13), for recognizing it when
confronted with a situation that involves it (see the Course Description,
p.26, question 11), and perhaps even for planning a study that employs
it. But I assume that they cannot be held responsible for a formal
analysis of the output from that design.

So what kind of analysis can we expect from AP students? My guess was
that they can be held responsible for a formal analysis within each block
of the design, but only for an informal comparison among blocks.

Do I have this right?

< second issue in next message >

Bruce King
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Western Connecticut State University
181 White Street
Danbury, CT 06810

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