Statistics, Spring 2013

MWF 8:30 - 9:20, R 8:30 - 9:20, Bagby 111

Office Hours: MWF 2:30 - 4:00, TR 3:30 - 5:00

Link To StatsPortal

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Classroom Notes

Course Description

Statistics is the science of data:  how valid data is produced, how to explore data to find trends, how to describe data quantitatively, and how to draw valid conclusions from data.  All these topics will be introduced in this course.  Probability theory provides important tools and concepts to statistics, and so we will also introduce some basic concepts from this area.  The course will emphasize hands-on experience with data, and the real-life applications of statistical thinking. 
The specific learning objectives of this course are to

  • present and interpret data graphically (using histograms, scatterplots, stemplots, and boxplots) including identifying outlier data,
  • compute and interpret measures of center, spread and correlation,
  • identify response and explanatory variables and find, use and interpret the least squares linear regression line of a response variable on an explanatory variable,
  • apply basic concepts of probability to find probabilities using the normal distribution
  • explain and use the Central Limit Theorem in relation to the sampling distribution of the sample mean,
  • use the basic tools of statistical inference including confidence intervals and tests of significance for population means (z and t procedures), population proportions, differences of means, and differences of proportions
  • gain a solid understanding of the concept of statistical significance.

Required StatsPortal

I will be running the course using a web-based system called StatsPortal.  You should have received an email from me about signing up for StatsPortal.  You are required to purchase StatsPortal.  Most of the homework for the class will be done through StatsPortal.  StatsPortal also contains an eBook (electronic version) of our textbook ("The Basic Practice Of Statistics", 6th edition, by David Moore).  In addition it contains many other helpful features, including as audio and video tutorials.

Required Statistical Calculator

A TI-84 Plus graphing calculator is required for this course.  If you do not use one of these then you will be responsible for knowing how to use your particular calculator.

Course Grade

  • 60% Three in-class tests
  • 10% Homework/Quiz
  • 5% Mathematics Cultural Points (see below)
  • 25% Final Exam

Final Exam Date

Wednesday, May 8, 9 am - 12 noon.

In-Class Tests

Three in-class tests will be given.  Tentative dates for these are

  • February 18
  • March 25
  • April 22


I will assign homework problems at the end of each class.  They will be due at the beginning of the next class period.  The first ten minutes of each class meeting is open to discussion of the practice homework problems.  Periodically we will have a short in-class quiz.  Topics for the quiz will always be announced at least one class meeting in advance.  The quizzes will be based on the assigned homework.

Mathematics Cultural Points

Mathematics is one of the oldest of the academic disciplines, and in addition to its intellectual content, it has a rich history and culture. Mathematics culture points ("cults") are awarded for activities which engage with that culture in a substantive, non-trivial way. You may earn cultural points in a variety of ways, such as attending and reporting on a Math/CS colloquium talk, or solving a Math/CS Problem of the Month. In order to receive the full 5% credit for cultural points, you must earn at least 10 cults. Cults are awarded for the following activities:

  • Attending a Math/CS colloquium, either at Hampden-Sydney or Longwood. (+5)
  • Submitting a non-trivial solution to a new Math/CS Problem of the Month, either at H-SC or Longwood. (+5)
  • Submitting a non-trivial solution to a new problem in The American Mathematical Monthly, The College Math Journal, or Mathematics Magazine.  These journals are available in the library. (+5)

To earn cults for one of these activities, a student must submit a brief write-up (approximately one page, word processed) addressing the following topics:

  • A description of the activity and a summary of what the student's participation entailed (e.g. for a colloquium talk this would include a summary of the details of the talk; for a solved problem, this would mean a complete solution to the problem).
  • A description of how the specific activity deepened their understanding and appreciation of mathematics, in particular if it connected to their current course material.
All reports must be word-processed.  Handwritten reports are not acceptable.  The number of cults awarded for a specific activity depends on the quality of the write-up.  In grading the cults, you will not receive the full cults score if you do not use proper spelling and grammar in your write-up.  If anything is misspelled or if there is at least one instance of improper grammar, you will not receive the full cults score.  If another one of your professors is awarding cults, a student may use the same activity to earn cults in more than one class.  However, the number of cults a particular assignment will earn is completely up to the professor who receives it.  In other words, the same assignment may earn a different number of cults, depending on the professor who grades it.

Comprehensive Final Exam

A comprehensive final exam will be given on Wednesday, May 8, from 9 am until 12 noon.

Attendance and Excused Absences

You are expected to attend every class. See the Hampden-Sydney College Catalog for the College's policies on class attendance. You assume full responsibility for all material covered during any absence. A grade of "0" will be assigned for all work missed due to unexcused absences.

Make-Up Policy

  • You will have ample time to complete any online homework assignments, so I will not accept any late submissions for these.
  • If you are sick on the day of a test or in-class quiz, then you must get in contact with me before the test or quiz is given to arrange a make-up.
  • If you have a legitimate College-sponsored event in which you must participate (such as a sporting event) scheduled on the same day as a test or in-class quiz, then you must get in contact with me before the test or quiz is given to arrange a make-up .

iPads, Cell Phones, Texting, etc.

  • No laptops or iPads in class, please.  You will not need them during class meetings.
  • All cell phones should be turned off during class, or be put in silent mode.
  • No texting or other use of the internet during class please.

Course Topics

  • Distributions and their graphs
  • Numerical summaries of distributions
  • The normal distributions
  • Scatterplots and correlations for two variables
  • Linear regression
  • Two-way tables
  • Producing data: sampling
  • Producing data: experiments
  • Introducing probability
  • Sampling distributions
  • Binomial distributions
  • Introduction to inference
  • Thinking about inference
  • Inference about a population mean
  • Two-sample problems
  • Inference about a population proportion
  • Comparing two proportions
  • Others as time permits