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LessonStudy:DevelopingStudents'ThoughtProcessesForChoosingAppropriate StatisticalMethods

PartI:Background

thelackofunderstandingofthedifferencebetweenstatisticallanguageandcolloquial language.

PartII:TheLesson

Figure1:DecisionTree

PartIII:TheStudy
Approach Weobservedourstudents'groupdiscussionsastheycompletedthefourinclassexercises andnotedwhethertheelementsfromthedecisiontreewereconsideredintheirdiscussions, andinwhatordertheywereconsidered.Ourclassroomobservationguideisgivenin AppendixB. Wecollectedthestudents'writtenresponsestotheinclassexercisesandnotedwhetheror notthestudentcorrectlyansweredthequestion,howconfidenttheywereintheiranswer,and whetherthestudents'logicincludedthefollowingfourconsiderations:1)thenumberof variablesinvolvedintheresearchquestion,2)thescaleofmeasurementforthegiven variables,3)theintentofthestatisticaltest(i.e.,whetherthemethodtestsfordifferencesora relationshipbetweentwovariables),and4)independentversuspairedsamples(relevant whenconsideringeithertheindependentsamplesttestorpaireddifferencettest).Ifthe students'responsesdidincludeoneormoreoftheseconsiderations,wenotedwhethertheir responsetothisconsiderationwascorrectforthegivenscenario. Finally,wecollectedthedecisiontreesthatthestudentscreatedfrommemoryaweekafter theexercisetookplace.Foreachstudentwemadenoteofwhethertheyincludedeachofthe fourconsiderationsdescribedinFigure1,andwhetherornottheyarrivedtoeachofthefour statisticaltestswithoutanyincorrectconsiderations. Findings/Discussion INCLASSEXERCISERESULTS: Table1summarizesthepercentageofstudentswhocorrectlyansweredeachinclass exerciseforeachpresentationofthelesson.EachexerciseisdescribedinAppendixB,and areidentifiedinTable1bytheappropriatestatisticaltestforeachresearchquestion.The percentageofstudentscorrectlyidentifyingeachstatisticaltestbeforeandafterintroducing thedecisiontreelgenerallyimprovesinFall2011.Theimprovementmaybefortworeasons: thestudentsmaysimplyimproveafterpracticewitheachsubsequentexercise,and/orthe decisiontreemayhavehelpedstudentsbetterunderstandthestatisticaltestsandgiventhem amoreeffectivementalorganizationfromwhichtodrawthisknowledge.Weexaminethis possibilitymoredeeplybelowwhenwedeterminewhatconsiderationsstudentsusedintheir decisionforeachscenario. TheoverallFall2011percentagecorrectrevealsthepairedsamplesttestwasthemost difficultforstudents,asonly41%ofstudentscorrectlyidentifiedthistest.Interestingly,none

Fall2011 AllResults Spring2012 AllResults N=84 92%Correct N=84 56%Correct N=83 47%Correct N=84 29%Correct

Statistical Test OneSampleTTest (A) IndependentSamples TTest (B) PairedSamplesTTest (C) ChiSquare (D)

BeforeDecision AfterDecision TreeIntroduced TreeIntroduced N=57 N=35 N=22 79%Correct 77%Correct 82%Correct N=57 72%Correct N=58 41%Correct N=58 69%Correct N=35 54%Correct N=22 0%Correct N=22 86%Correct N=22 100%Correct N=36 67%Correct N=36 58%Correct

Table2:OneSampleTTest(A)
Fall2011 AllResults(%) BeforeDecision TreeIntroduced (N=57) (N=35) NumberofVariables wasincluded/considered NumberofVariables wascorrect ScaleofMeasurement wasincluded/considered ScaleofMeasurement wascorrect IndependentvsPaired sampleswas included/considered IndependentvsPaired sampleswascorrect Differenceorrelationship wasincluded/considered Differenceorrelationship wascorrect 90 75 68 63 14 86 5 95 83 71 57 57 6 94 6 94 AfterDecision TreeIntroduced (N=22) 100 82 86 73 27 73 5 95 Spring2012 AllResults(%) (N=84) 96 90 71 69 4 96 0 100

Table3:IndependentSamplesTtest(B)
Fall2011 AllResults(%) BeforeDecision (N=57) NumberofVariables wasincluded/considered NumberofVariables wascorrect ScaleofMeasurement wasincluded/considered ScaleofMeasurement wascorrect IndependentvsPaired sampleswas included/considered IndependentvsPaired sampleswascorrect Differenceor relationshipwas included/considered Differenceor relationshipwascorrect TreeIntroduced (%) (N=35) 95 95 88 70 40 33 61 51 91 91 83 71 26 17 49 37 AfterDecision TreeIntroduced (%) (N=22) 100 100 95 68 64 59 82 73 Spring2012 AllResults(%) (N=84)

96 95 96 83 49 42 60 50

Table4:PairedSamplesTtest
Fall2011 AllResults(%) (N=58) NumberofVariables wasincluded/considered NumberofVariables wascorrect ScaleofMeasurement wasincluded/considered ScaleofMeasurement wascorrect IndependentvsPaired sampleswas included/considered IndependentvsPaired sampleswascorrect Differenceor relationshipwas included/considered Differenceor relationshipwascorrect 97 90 86 86 59 38 33 33 BeforeDecision Tree(%) (N=22) 95 82 91 91 18 0 50 50 AfterDecision Tree(%) (N=36) 97 94 83 83 83 61 22 22 Spring2012 AllResults(%) (N=83) 100 100 92 86 84 55 80 80

Table5:ChiSquaredTtest(D)
Fall2011 AllResults(%) (N=58) NumberofVariables wasincluded/considered NumberofVariables wascorrect ScaleofMeasurement wasincluded/considered ScaleofMeasurement wascorrect IndependentvsPaired sampleswas included/considered IndependentvsPaired sampleswascorrect Differenceor relationshipwas included/considered Differenceor relationshipwascorrect 97 97 83 69 14 86 62 48 Spring2012 BeforeDecision AfterDecisionTree AllResults(%) TreeIntroduced(%) Introduced(%) (N=22) (N=36) (N=84) 91 91 64 64 5 95 82 73 100 100 94 72 19 81 50 33 95 95 86 32 2 98 77 69

TraitConsidered NumberofVariables ScaleofMeasurement SampleisIndependentor Paired DifferenceorRelationship Fall2011 Numberof responses Spring2012 Percentof Numberof Percentof CompletedTrees responses CompletedTrees 57 93% 82 99% 57 89% 82 100% 57 57 54% 53% 82 82 84% 89%

Fall2011 Spring2012 Numberof Percentof Numberof Percentof responseswhich CompletedTrees responses CompletedTrees includedtest thatidentifiedtest whichincluded thatidentifiedtest withnowrong test withnowrong information information OneSampleTTest(A) 49 84% 80 94% IndependentSamplesTTest(B) 43 88% 69 93% PairedSamplesTTest(C) 38 76% 66 92% ChiSquare(D) 45 82% 75 93% StatisticalTest

Appendix:LessonandStudyMaterials