64th ISI World Statistics Congress - Ottawa, Canada

64th ISI World Statistics Congress - Ottawa, Canada

Role of project work in Statistics education


64th ISI World Statistics Congress - Ottawa, Canada

Format: CPS Abstract

Keywords: assessment

Session: CPS 53 - Teaching statistics III

Tuesday 18 July 4 p.m. - 5:25 p.m. (Canada/Eastern)


In the changing world, more and more data and the conscious use of these are required to understand social and economic phenomena. To improve students’ ability to use statistics correctly it is worth building project work to the assessment of their statistics knowledge. In business education at the bachelor level we combine project work, traditional exercise solving, and theoretical questions when asses students' statistical knowledge. The project work is group work, when students raise questions, collect, analyze and present data to give answers to their questions. In two scenarios with 300-300 students, we tried out short videos and in a control group the oral presentation as a communication form of their results. In the case of the exercise solving and the theoretical questions, students have to solve exercises with the help of Excel and with a pen and pencil and give answers to exact questions. The weight of the project work in the assessment is 30%. There are several lessons we have learnt. Firstly one of the hardest challenges for students was to formalize questions in the project work. Most of their questions come from a statistical point of you and weren’t relevant from the practical side. For instance “calculate the standard deviation of a variable".
During the presentation of the work, the results mainly were creatively presented, and students enjoyed this type of activity. On the other hand, we can see, that not necessarily the same students are good at project work, computer-based exercises, and paper and pencil activities. Furthermore, in the oral presentation form when educators had the possibility to ask about the reasons for the topic and the used methodology selection, typical answers were that they select a method, because they did it in class, so it was driven mainly by what they showed earlier and not the selected problem. The video form covered this result. It seems that students are less aware than we thought earlier.
A very important experience is that the students couldn't link the used methodologies in the different forms in their minds. For instance in deterministic time series analysis when they analyzed trends and seasonal variation, they couldn't recognize that the used methodologies and calculations are the same in the project work, the computer-based and the pen and pencil activities. It also leads to the fact, that students handle and learn these things separately.
These results show that educators have to do more efforts to raise questions in classes from a practical, problem point of view and only the second question should be what we can calculate from the statistical point of view to analyze the given issue.