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STATISTICS FOR COWARDS: A FIELD STUDY ON THE EFFECTS OF MODIFYING THE ORDER AND METHOD OF SUBJECT PRESENTATION IN STATISTICS COURSES IN THE SOCIAL SCIENCES / סטטיסטיקה לפחדנים: מחקר שדה בהתאמת אופן הוראת הסטטיסטיקה לתלמידי פסיכולוגיה ולתלמידי מדעי החברה

ליהוא זיסברג and LEEHU ZYSBERG
Studies in Education / עיונים בחינוך
סדרה חדשה‎, H. 4 (אפריל 2011 / ניסן תשע"א), pp. 198-208
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23394139
Page Count: 11
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
STATISTICS FOR COWARDS: A FIELD STUDY ON THE EFFECTS OF MODIFYING THE ORDER AND METHOD OF SUBJECT PRESENTATION IN STATISTICS COURSES IN THE SOCIAL SCIENCES / סטטיסטיקה לפחדנים: מחקר שדה בהתאמת אופן הוראת הסטטיסטיקה לתלמידי פסיכולוגיה ולתלמידי מדעי החברה
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Abstract

Introductory statistics courses in academic programs in the social sciences and the humanities are often cosidered "the black sheep" of their respecitve programs. Feared and underappreciated by the students and the subject of negative attitudes these courses pose a challenge to educators world-wide. Researchers and practitioners have raised various suggestions as to how to cope with this predicament. These range from a more relevant use of examples to computerized simulations and more. However — the results of such efforts are still- at best- equivocal. This study examined the effects of re-organization in the order of subject presentation in an introductory statistics course given at the departments of education and of psychology in an academic institution located in Northern Israel. Three hundred and sixty four students were included in our data collection. Data was gathered over 2 years — right before and after the above change was implemented in the statistics syllabi: Instead of following a traditional statiatical-mathematical logic in the order and method of subject presentation we re-organized the material according to the logic of social science's typical questions and methods. As outcome variables we utilized both the standard faculty and course evaluation surveys (representing students' attitude) and rate of student participation in guided research projects (representing assimilation of knowledge and its application). The results indicate a significant improvement in both students' attitudes and perceptions of the course and its relevance as well as higher rates of participation in undergraduate research projects indicating better assimilation and application of the course materials. The results are discussed in the context of existing research and future directions for action.

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