Economics: Student Thought Processes For Choosing Appropriate Statistical Methods

Title: Developing Students’ Thought Processes for Choosing Appropriate Statistical Methods
Discipline(s) or Field(s): Research Methods, Statistics
Authors: Elizabeth Knowles and James Murray, Department of Economics, University of Wisconsin – La Crosse
Submission Date: August 23, 2012

Abstract: Introductory statistics classes typically emphasize computation and implementation procedures for a number of statistical tests. While it is essential to build these skills before achieving higher-order critical thinking skills, students often struggle in subsequent research methods courses when expected to select appropriate statistical tests to answer research questions. This requires an understanding of how statistical methods are related to one anotherĶ¾ and to achieve this, students must develop a more advanced organization of knowledge. We designed a lesson to help students build a knowledge organization to achieve this outcome, and observed students to better understand their thought processes. We share our thought process map for selecting a statistical test, report on the impact it had for our students, and offer suggestions for improving the lesson. In addition, we describe the thought processes students used, both before and after being exposed to the thought process map, and identify sources of confusion revealed through the lesson study process. These include: when to apply an independent-samples test versus a paired-samples test, how the identification of scale of measurement led students to choose the wrong statistical method, the difficulty students had recognizing or defining what the variables in a problem were, and the lack of understanding of the difference between statistical language and colloquial language.

Economics Lesson Study: Student Thought Processes for Choosing Appropriate Statistical Methods (Final Report)

English: Using sample papers effectively

Title: Using sample papers effectively in the classroom
Discipline(s) or Field(s): College Writing, Research, Freshmen Seminar
Authors: Kyla Moore and Debra Siebert, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Submission Date: March 2, 2009

Executive Summary:Ā  The purpose of this study is structure an activity that effectively helps students to see multiple uses for sample writing that is shared in the classroom. Students are asked to participate in two sets of small groups to discuss a sample paper, and the ways it could be read and used effectively. Each small group meets for 15-20 minutes. The first group brainstorms how to read the sample paper through a particular pedagogical lens, while the second group focuses on synthesizing the lenses represented. The group summaries demonstrate that when students are given a carefully constructed lesson, they are able to recognize and discuss multiple perspectives of a text and then synthesize them collaboratively. Additionally, a pattern emerged from our reading of student self-reflections: students overwhelmingly claimed that the lesson will both help them consider and analyze their audiences and consider multiple viewpoints when reading and writing.

English Lesson Study: Using samples papers effectively (Final Report)
Link to material used to teach the lesson: