We are planning to introduce statistics into our math curriculum here at St. Stephen's. The problem is that we aren't sure what to offer and at what level. I would appreciate feedback from list members.
St. Stephen's is a small boarding/day private secondary school located in Austin, TX. All of our students are college bound, but their math abilities vary widely. Because of a local math/science magnet school, we have less than our fair share of top-flight math students. Still, we have a handful of mathematically outstanding kids.
Our school size is a major factor. We have about 90 students per grade, with a mean class size of around 15. The administration frowns on offering classes which will only pull in the single digits, but some exceptions are made.
Our current math curriculum is pretty traditional: Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, Precalculus, and several options after that. This year we offer non-AP Calc, AB Calc, BC Calc, and Post-Calc. Post-Calc offers, among other things, an exposure to multivariate calculus, ODEs, and functions of a complex variable. We also offer accelerated sections of Geometry through Precalculus.
One option is to offer AP Stats with a Precalculus prerequisite. The problem is that each of our courses after Precalculus has close to minimal enrollment, so offering AP Statistics with a Precalculus prerequisite might wipe out one or more of our Calculus offerings. We might stop offering non-AP calculus, which is a new addition to our curriculum this year.
Another option is to offer non-AP Statistics with Algebra 2 (or maybe less?) as prerequisite. What kind of curriculum would such a course include? Lots of descriptive stats, not so much inferential? Would such a course be a good feeder into AP Stats?
We aren't averse to revamping Precalculus into an FST-style curriculum (well, some of us aren't, anyway). Does much meaningful statistics get taught in 3 months? What experience have other people had?
Besides, if Statistics is truly important (and I think it is), shouldn't it be a part of the regular course sequence in mathematics? Does anyone out there do this?
Thanks in advance for your feedback. Promptness is appreciated, since we begin departmental planning soon for next year.
Bruce E. Simmons St. Stephen's Episcopal School P.O. Box 1868 Austin, TX 78767 w (512) 327-1213 h (512) 467-6558