Data Analysis Summary
Tuesday, July 24
We welcomed back Bill Finzer to our group.
Nancy gave the Program Committee Report. They brainstormed evaluation questions for the HSTP group. Jeff Choppin (an evaluator of the PCMI program) offered to create an official form.
Chris Leary, a member of the undergraduate faculty joined us today and he wanted to share info on our missions. He talked about the Differential Equation course at SUNY Geneseo, where he teaches. This course ties into Physics, the Research Program, and mathematical modeling. With the current Calculus reform, they are looking to bring more geometry into the course (due to the current technology available). He also is here to generate public awareness and support. We asked the question about the transition of students from high school to college. He told us that SUNY Geneseo has typical students (good, clean-cut kids) who are not used to being wrong or learning from being wrong. He finds it difficult to get kids to volunteer answers unless they are absolutely certain that they are correct. Their algebra computational skills are fairly adequate for the tasks at hand. However, their group work and self-starting are lacking. The question was asked whether a statistics course was required for most majors, and members of our group were surprised to find out that it was only required for majors in Sociology, Psychology and Communicative Disorders. They have problems finding statisticians to teach Statistic courses. It is too expensive, so they are taught by mathematicians. He has found that high school teachers are retraining themselves in statistics, as well as university research matematicians.
We then reviewed our FATHOM presentation for both Bill and Chris, with them asking questions and making suggestions as we went through it. Bill suggested that for our project during the year, we find demographic data, or other actual school data that we could use in our surveys. I decided that FATHOM might be a rather nice device for our North Central Accreditation Report, which needs both graphical and statistical information. Bill said he would get all of us the "Fathoming Functions" book that is available, which is a great tool for Advanced Algebra courses. The FATHOM group was then asked if we knew how to ask sensitive questions effectively. Chris explained a way to get collective data that's reasonably accurate without the fear of answering in front of a lot of people. Bill suggested that we try the "Hot Hoops" investigation in the Data in Depth book, which investigates the hot streaks of sports stars. He also mentioned that our students need early experience with distributions using actual data collections. There is also a huge demand for people with data literacy skills.
Carol then asked us what we needed Bill to help us with while he is here.
PCMI@MathForum Home || IAS/PCMI Home
With program support provided by Math for America
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0314808.