Statistics

 

 An algebra-based statistics course is offered at each of the CONNECT schools. Cape Cod Community College (CCCC) and Massasoit Community College (MCC), each have a single college-level transfer Statistics course. Bristol Community College (BCC) offers a one-semester, non-transfer course and a two-semester transfer sequence.  UMASS Dartmouth (UMD) and Bridgewater State University (BSU) both offer one semester courses in the Mathematics Department. BSU has a second semester course that is rarely offered. 

 

Statistics Course Track

 

All courses are three credits. The prerequisite for all transfer statistics courses is Intermediate Algebra. BSU and UMD also have statistics courses offered in other departments including business and the social sciences. In addition, there are calculus-based probability/statistics courses for some majors such as Mathematics and Computer Science which would be taken in place of these introductory level courses.

At the community colleges and BSU, the teaching of statistics is almost evenly split between full-time faculty members and adjunct faculty members. At UMD, a full-time coordinator, adjunct faculty members, and graduate students teach all introductory statistics courses in the Mathematics Department.

All Statistics courses cover many of the same topics and have many of the same learning outcomes. The schools do differ in the coverage of probability and hypothesis testing, both in terms of the number of topics covered and in the depth of the coverage. The attached tables might give the impression that topic coverage is very uniform at each institution. In truth, this coverage can vary significantly from instructor to instructor. To highlight some differences:

  • All courses cover the topic of regression, but only some test the significance of the regression.
  • The coverage of probability varies significantly, with some covering basic addition/multiplication formulas only, and others including conditional probability, permutations, and combinations.
  • The methodology used for hypothesis testing differs between courses, with some using the traditional method with tables only, while others only using technology to calculate p-values.
  • Most courses do not include two-sample hypothesis tests in their list of topics.
  • Some courses include chi-square tests and ANOVA, while others do not.

All schools integrate some form of technology in their Statistics courses, including graphing calculators, Excel, and/or statistical packages.

As part of the national movement to reform statistics curriculum, the American Statistical Association and the American Mathematics Association of Two Year Colleges have approved Guidelines for the Introductory College Statistics Course. As schools begin to adopt these guidelines, the topic coverage and learning outcomes will change, noticeably. It will be extremely important to communicate with each other as we incorporate these policies.

There are several other open questions to pursue:

  • How do the courses in the Mathematics departments articulate with statistics offered in other departments? Is this the same for transfer students and native students?
  • How do the CONNECT schools’ statistics courses compare to other state schools outside our region? How do they compare to courses offered in other states?
  • What role can CONNECT play in providing professional development opportunities for statistics instructors? As a discipline, Statistics is different than Mathematics. Faculty who are not trained statisticians would benefit from professional development opportunities in teaching statistics and furthering their theoretical knowledge of the subject.

 March 2011 Update:

The mathematics departments of the CONNECT schools have agreed to a list of Essential Topics for an algebra-based elementary statistics course. Transfer course equivalencies have been determined for Bridgewater State University, Bristol Community College, Cape Cod Community College, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Massasoit Community College, and University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Please see the CONNECT Math Transfer Agreement and Appendix 1 for more details.

 For further information about the Statistics track, please contact:

 Mary Kehoe Moynihan

mmoynihan@capecod.edu

508-362-2131, ext 4471