Teaching Statistics Better
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Teaching Statistics Better Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Reducing statistics anxiety through use of student 1 2 immediacy behaviors and peer instruction0011 0010 1010 1101 0001 0100 1011 Keith Starcher CBFA Conference June 26, 2012 4 Indiana Wesleyan University
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  • 6. Many students fear taking a statistics course0011 0010 1010 1101 0001 0100 1011 • Statistics anxiety has been defined simply as anxiety that occurs as a result of 1 2 encountering statistics in any form and at any level. 4 • With fear of failing, students delay enrolling in statistics courses as long as possible (Onwuegbuzie, 1997).
  • 7. Fear of Statistics as a Subject0011 0010 1010 1101 0001 0100 1011 • Statistics is seen by large numbers of students (including college students) as 1 2 being a very rigorous and anxiety-inducing subject to study (Sgoutas-Emch & Johnson, 4 1998).
  • 8. How to Teach Statistics0011 0010 1010 1101 0001 0100 1011 • Many instructors are frustrated in regards to finding effective methods of teaching this 1 2 subject (Garfield and Ben-Zvi, 2002). • Garfield and Ben-Zvi (2004) wrote that 4 although there is a great deal of statistics instruction taking place, the research to support statistics instruction is not well known.
  • 9. Most students dislike taking a statistics course0011 0010 1010 1101 0001 0100 1011 • Empirical evidence and anecdotal data suggest that statistics is one of students’ 1 2 most disliked subjects (Sciutto, 1995). • Studies have demonstrated a negative 4 relationship between statistics anxiety and performance (Tremblay et al., 2000).
  • 10. The Purpose of this Research0011 0010 1010 1101 0001 0100 1011 • To reduce statistics anxiety through use of “student” (instructor) immediacy behaviors and peer instruction (in-class student tutors) 1 2 in a sample of traditional undergraduate business statistics students in a private 4 Midwestern university. • To extend the literature by offering practical insights on how course design and classroom management may reduce statistics anxiety.
  • 11. Methodology0011 0010 1010 1101 0001 0100 1011 • Instrument: Statistical Anxiety Rating Scale (STARS) – (Cruise et al.1985). 1 2 • STARS is a 51-item, 5-point, Likert-type instrument composed of two parts. The first 4 part includes 23 statements that are related to statistical anxiety while the second part includes 28 statements that deal with attitudes toward statistics.
  • 12. Methodology0011 0010 1010 1101 0001 0100 1011 • There are six subscales in STARS: – Worth of Statistics (16 items) 1 2 – Interpretation Anxiety (11 items) – Test/Class Anxiety (8 items) 4 – Computational Self-concept (7 items) – Fear of Asking for Help (4 items) – Fear of Statistics Teachers (5 items)
  • 13. Methodology0011 0010 1010 1101 0001 0100 1011 • This study used a pretest/posttest design with 23 traditional undergraduate students 1 2 completing the Statistical Anxiety Rating Scale (STARS) instrument at the beginning 4 and end of a business statistics course taught in a traditional classroom environment. • Pretest (1st day of class); Posttest (last week of class)
  • 14. Instructor Immediacy0011 0010 1010 1101 0001 0100 1011 • Williams (2010) advised that instructors increase their use of immediacy behaviors 1 2 in order to reduce statistics anxiety. • When the instructor practices immediacy, 4 she engages in additional positive behaviors such as praising students’ actions and comments, encouraging students to share their points of view, and engaging in student-initiated discussion (Gorham,1988).
  • 15. Peer Instruction0011 0010 1010 1101 0001 0100 1011 • Peer Instruction engages students during class through activities that require each 1 2 student to apply the core concepts being presented, and then to explain those 4 concepts to their fellow students. • Peer Instruction has been shown to improve academic performance (Crouch, 2001).
  • 16. Student Tutor0011 0010 1010 1101 0001 0100 1011 • In our class the students were presented with a problem. They would work on the 1 2 problem individually and then discuss the solution with their group asking clarifying questions of their group’s student tutor (1 4 tutor in each group of 4 students). • The instructor roamed the classroom checking in with each group as they wrestled with the problem solution.
  • 17. Course Design0011 0010 1010 1101 0001 0100 1011 • To increase the perception of the usefulness of statistics, students were required early in 1 2 the semester to read and write a reflection paper on Super Crunchers: Why Thinking- 4 By-Numbers is the New Way To Be Smart (Ayres, 2008).
  • 18. Student Comments regarding Super Crunchers0011 0010 1010 1101 0001 0100 1011 I learned that statistics are used in nearly every industry and can be seen all around us. The book really made me think of daily activities in 2 a different way and opened my eyes up to how important statistics are to our society today. While super crunching helps us be more 1 4 effective, it does not mean we need to eliminate all human “gut feelings” and simply look at numbers. Rather, statistics should be a foundation for our decisions and the human “expertise” factor should be able to make a better-educated decision in the end.
  • 19. Course Design0011 0010 1010 1101 0001 0100 1011 • The Test/Class Anxiety subscale is assumed to assess anxiety experienced while taking 1 2 statistics courses and/or exams (higher scores indicate higher levels of anxiety). 4 • This fear was addressed through the use of open book, open note exams (test anxiety) and student tutors (class anxiety).
  • 20. Course Design0011 0010 1010 1101 0001 0100 1011 • The Fear of Asking for Help subscale is designed to assess anxiety experienced 1 2 when a person asks for help in statistics- related problems (higher scores indicate 4 higher anxiety). • This was addressed through student tutors.
  • 21. Course Design0011 0010 1010 1101 0001 0100 1011 • The Fear of Statistics Teachers subscale is supposed to measure students’ perceptions 1 2 of statistics teachers (higher scores indicate higher anxiety). 4 • This was addressed via instructor immediacy behaviors.
  • 22. Results0011 0010 1010 1101 0001 0100 1011 1 2 4
  • 23. Results0011 0010 1010 1101 0001 0100 1011 Cronbach’s Alpha Factor Pre Post 1 2 1 .921 .907 2 .879 .793 3 .864 .913 4 .847 .874 4 5 .611 .747 6 .596 .735 All .955 .955
  • 24. Results0011 0010 1010 1101Did Tutor Lower Stats Anxiety? 1= not at all; 10 0001 0100 1011 = very much so 8 7 1 2 6 5 Frequency 4 4 3 2 1 0 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 More Bin
  • 25. Results – Tutor Responses0011 0010 1010 1101 0001 0100 1011 1 2 4
  • 26. Results – Non-Tutor Responses0011 0010 1010 1101 0001 0100 1011 1 2 4
  • 27. Tutor Comments0011 0010 1010 1101 0001 0100 1011 • Now, near semester’s end, how do you think and feel about the idea of working as a 1 2 student tutor? – I feel good about the idea of being a tutor 4 because I honestly think that having a student/peer explain concepts to other students helps the other students understand those concepts.
  • 28. Tutor Comments0011 0010 1010 1101 0001 0100 1011 – I don’t mind it, but I don’t particularly enjoy it. – It was a good experience over all; sometimes 1 2 hard to explain everything well. – It was fine. Our group interacted well with each other. 4 – I feel the same way about the idea of student tutors because I did get to interact with and lead other students. – It was a good experience, but very stressful.
  • 29. Non-tutor Comments0011 0010 1010 1101 0001 0100 1011 • Now, near semester’s end, how do you think and feel about the idea of working 1 2 with student tutor? – I don’t think it was that big of a deal because it 4 just meant that if I didn’t know how to do something, I knew whom to ask for help and we’d learn together. – I liked it. It was more comfortable to ask questions.
  • 30. Non-tutor Comments0011 0010 1010 1101 0001 0100 1011 – It was very helpful and made it easier to learn. – It helped out a lot by providing quicker answers 1 2 to questions I had. – I thought the student tutors were very helpful. They gave me reassurance and someone to lean 4 on when I needed help. – I liked it. Usually I don’t like to talk a lot, so when I was stuck, the tutor asked me, “Do you get it?” That helped me.
  • 31. Non-tutor Comments0011 0010 1010 1101 0001 0100 1011 – I am glad I had one. She has helped me understand the material better and has been a 2 good leader. 1 – I still like it knowing they are easy to contact with any questions I have. 4 – I feel great about it. Our tutor really helped our group out. – I think it went well and benefited me. I was able to get help and work through any problems I had.
  • 32. Next time…0011 0010 1010 1101 0001 0100 1011 • Obtain more individual test performance • Obtain more individual homework 1 2 performance • Provide them with a meaningful yet rich 4 data set for analysis • Make the final applied statistics paper an individual (not a group) project
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  • 34. References0011 0010 1010 1101 0001 0100 1011 1 2 4
  • 35. References0011 0010 1010 1101 0001 0100 1011 1 2 4