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The Effect of Student-Driven Projects on the Development of Statistical Reasoning

Sovak, Melissa M (2010) The Effect of Student-Driven Projects on the Development of Statistical Reasoning. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Research has shown that even if students pass a standard introductory statistics course, they often still lack the ability to reason statistically. Many instructional techniques for enhancing the development of statistical reasoning have been discussed by several authors,although, there is often little to no quantitative analysis to give evidence that they produce effective results in the classroom.The purpose of this study was to produce quantitative data to investigate the effectivenessof a particular teaching technique in enhancing students' statistical reasoning abilities. Thestudy compared students in a traditional lecture-based introductory statistics course withstudents in a similar introductory course that adds a semester-long project. The projectwas designed to target three main focus areas found in an introductory statistics course:distributions, probability and inference. Seven sections of introductory statistics courseswere used. One section at each level served as an experimental section and used a five part project in the course curriculum. All other sections followed a typical introductory curriculum for the specific course level.All sections involved completed both a pre-test and a post-test. Both assessments were designed to measure reasoning ability targeted by the project in order to determine if using the project aids in the increased development of statistical reasoning.Additional purposes of this research were to develop assessment questions that targetstudents' reasoning abilities and to provide a template for a semester-long data analysisproject for introductory courses.Analysis of the data was completed using methods that included ANCOVA and contingency tables to investigate the effect of the project on the development of students' statistical reasoning. A qualitative analysis is also discussed to provide information on aspects of the project not covered by the quantitative analysis.Analysis of the data indicated that project participants had higher learning gains overallwhen compared with the gains made by students not participating in the project. Results of the qualitative analysis also suggest that, in addition to providing larger learning gains,projects were also enjoyed by students. These results indicate that the use of projects are avaluable teaching technique for introductory statistics courses.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Sovak, Melissa Mmms82@pitt.eduMMS82
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairGleser, Leon J.
Committee MemberStone, Clement
Committee MemberBlock, Henry
Committee MemberPfenning, Nancy
Committee MemberIyengar, Satish
Date: 30 September 2010
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 16 July 2010
Approval Date: 30 September 2010
Submission Date: 27 May 2010
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Statistics
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Projects; Statistical Education
Other ID:, etd-05272010-142748
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:46
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:44


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