Statistics - Math 121, Sections 01 and 03

Professor Marcus Pendergrass

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, and,
  • use the basic tools of statistical inference including confidence intervals and tests of hypotheses for populations means and population proportions.

Additional topics may be covered as time permits.

Required LaunchPad

I will be running the course using a web-based system called LaunchPad. Sign-up instructions for LaunchPad are here. LaunchPad contains both the textbook for the course and an online homework system. In addition it contains many other helpful features, including as audio and video tutorials. You should have received an email from me already about signing up for LaunchPad. You are required to purchase LaunchPad.

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.

Determination of Course Grade

  • three in-class tests: 60%
  • comprehensive final exam: 25%
  • homework/quiz: 15%

Final Exam Date

Thursday, December 13, from 9 am until 12 noon.


  • Test 1: Tuesday, September 25.
  • Test 2: Tuesday, October 23.
  • Test 3: Tuesday, November 20.


I will assign homework problems at the end of each class. At the beginning of the next class, I will take questions from the class on the homework. The homework will be due at the beginning of the subsequent class. Approximately once every two weeks we will have a short quiz.  Topics for the quiz will always be announced at least one class meeting in advance.

Attendance and Excused Absences

You are expected to attend every class. If you are late for class, you are counted as absent. 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. If you have four or more unexcused absences, you may be withdrawn from the class with a grade of WF.

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 going to miss class on the day of a test, then you must get in contact with me before the test or quiz is given to arrange a make-up. Make-up tests will only be allowed for reasonable absences.
  • 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 arrange with me to take the test or quiz early.

Laptops, Tablets, Phones, etc.

  • 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.
  • no use of laptops or tablets during class.


  • No eating during class.
  • No smokeless tobacco in class.
  • if you need to leave class early, get my permission.

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
  • Logic of statistical inference
  • Inference about a population mean
  • Two-sample problems
  • Inference about a population proportion
  • Comparing two proportions
  • Two categorical variables: the chi-square test
  • Others as time permits