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 hypotheses for populations means and population proportions.

Additional topics may be covered as time permits.

Required WebAssign

I will be running the course using a web-based system called WebAssign. WebAssign contains both the textbook for the course and an online homework system. You should have received an email from me already about signing up for WebAssign. If not, you can find sign-up instructions here. You are required to purchase WebAssign. 

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%
  • Final exam: 25%
  • Homework/quizzes: 15%

Final Exam Date

  • Monday, December 9, from 6 until 9 pm.


Three in-class tests will be given. Their tentative dates are

  • Test 1, Tuesday, September 24
  • Test 2, Tuesday, October 22
  • Test 3, Tuesday, November 26

Final Exam

  • A comprehensive in-class final will be given on Monday, December 9 from 6 until 9 pm.


  • 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. We will also have occasional in-class quizzes.  Topics for the quiz will always be announced at least one class meeting in advance.


  • 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

  • Online Homework: Online homework is available via the internet both on-campus and off. Therefore for excused absences (e.g. participation in a varsity sport), you are still required to complete the assignment by the due-date. The same applies for absences due to illness, unless you have a doctor’s note stating that the illness prevents you from doing your online homework.
  • Tests and Quizzes: If you are going to miss a test or quiz, you must obtain permission from me beforehand in order to make up the work. If permission is granted, the make-up work must be done before the scheduled date for the assignment. In the case of illness, permission will be granted only if you have a written excuse from the Wellness Center or a doctor.
  • Final Exam: All students must take the final exam on the regularly scheduled date.

Learning Accommodations

  • All learning accommodations certified by Hampden-Sydney College are respected in this class. In order to extend the accommodations, I must have the necessary accommodation letter from Hampden-Sydney College.

Classroom Expectations

Basically, respect the learning environment. In particular:

  • be on time;
  • 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, please inform me beforehand.