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Introduction to Statistical Investigations

by Beth Chance, George Cobb, Allan Rossman, Soma Roy, Todd Swanson, Nathan Tintle, and Jill VanderStoep

Year of Award: 2018

Award: Solow

Publication Information: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.: Hoboken, NJ, 2018

Summary: Nathan Tintle (Dordt College), Beth Chance (Cal Poly San Luis Obispo), George Cobb (Mt Holyoke), Allan Rossman (Cal Poly San Luis Obispo), Soma Roy (Cal Poly San Luis Obispo), Todd Swanson (Hope College) and Jill VanderStoep (Hope College) are the recipients of the 2018 Daniel Solow Award for their textbook, Introduction to Statistical Investigations. With generous NSF support (DUE-1140629 and DUE-1323210), the author team is leading a national conversation about the use of simulation-based methods in introductory statistics and driving widespread use of these methods in introductory courses, with the Introduction to Statistical Investigations curriculum at the forefront of these efforts. The authors have led over 30 national and regional workshops for more than 1000 faculty over the last four years, including e-workshops, which are archived and freely available for any to use. These workshops challenge faculty to examine pedagogy, content, and assessment in their statistics courses in an effort to improve student engagement and learning.

The Introduction to Statistical Investigations curriculum focuses on helping students think statistically. It does this by using a spiral approach to teach the statistical investigation method, using simulation-based methods to introduce statistical inference while focusing on the logic and scope of inference. The curriculum integrates exposition, examples, and explorations, and uses freely-available applets and real data from genuine studies.

Additionally, the authors have led efforts to document the impact of their curriculum in peer-reviewed research. Their first paper showed improved post-course conceptual learning gains as compared to the standard introductory statistics curriculum at the original institution where the materials were developed. The team later demonstrated improved post-course retention of statistical concepts relative to the standard curriculum in this same population. The team also documented that students at numerous additional institutions showed improved conceptual understanding and significantly more gain (especially on assessment questions related to Data Collection and Tests of Significance) when using this curriculum.

Response from the Authors:

It is an honor and a pleasure to be recognized with the Daniel Solow Author’s Award this year. For the seven of us who have worked together since 2009 on the project that ultimately became Introduction to Statistical Investigations, it has been a long, but fun, exciting, and transformative process. Our team came together through a joint passion to help improve students statistical thinking in a course taken by millions of students annually. We are humbled by the opportunity we had to stand on the shoulders of other innovators in statistics education who came before us, in order to put together a curriculum that we hope will inspire students to truly learn and appreciate how to draw conclusions from data they observe about the world in which they live. So many class testers, workshop participants, colleagues and, most of all, students, have had a tremendous positive impact on our materials—pushing us to think harder, do better, and ultimately result in the published book. We are truly humbled by this honor.

About the Authors:

Nathan L. Tintle is Professor of Statistics at Dordt College. He has led efforts to develop and institutionalize randomization-based curricula at two institutions (Hope College 2005–2011; Dordt 2011–present), and currently leads the curriculum development project. He has been an invited panelist for a number of statistics education sessions at national meetings, served on the Executive Committee of the Section of Statistical Education of the ASA, received the 2013 Waller Education Award for teaching and innovation in Introductory Statistics, the 2017 Robert V. Hogg Award for Excellence in Teaching Introductory Statistics, and served as a member of a national advisory committee to the ASA President on training the next-generation of statisticians. He has co-authored multiple articles on student learning using the randomization curriculum, one of which won an award for best paper of the year from the Journal of Statistics Education.

Beth L. Chance is Professor of Statistics at California Polytechnic State University. She is co-author with Allan Rossman of the Workshop Statistics series and Investigating Statistical Concepts, Applications, and Methods. She has published articles on statistics education in The American Statistician, Journal of Statistics Education, and the Statistics Education Research Journal. She has also collaborated on several chapters and books aimed at enhancing teacher preparation to teach statistics and has been involved for many years with the Advanced Placement Statistics program. She is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association and received the 2002 Waller Education Award for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching Undergraduate Statistics. The Rossman/Chance collection of online applets for exploring statistical concepts was awarded the 2009 CAUSEweb Resource of the Year Award and a 2011 MERLOT Award for Exemplary Learning Materials.

George W. Cobb is Robert L. Rooke Professor Emeritus of Statistics at Mount Holyoke College and has extensive knowledge of statistics education, expertise in developing imaginative and innovative curricular materials and the honor of having brought the conversation on randomization-based approaches in introductory statistics to the mainstream via his 2005 USCOTS presentation and 2007 paper. He served as the first chair of the Joint Committee on Undergraduate Statistics of the American Mathematical Association and American Statistical Association (1991–98) editing that committee’s 1992 report, “Teaching Statistics.” He served for three years on the National Research Council’s Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics and served as vice-president of the American Statistical Association. He is a Fellow of the ASA and received the ASA’s Founders Award in 2007. He has published/edited a number of books.

Allan J. Rossman is Professor and Chair of the Statistics Department at California Polytechnic State University. He earned a PhD in Statistics from Carnegie Mellon University. He is co-author with Beth Chance of the Workshop Statistics series and Investigating Statistical Concepts, Applications, and Methods, both of which adopt an active learning approach to learning introductory statistics. He served as Program Chair for the 2007 Joint Statistical Meetings, as President of the International Association for Statistical Education from 2007–2009, and as Chief Reader for the Advanced Placement program in Statistics from 2009–2014. He is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association and has received the Mathematical Association of America’s Haimo Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics in 2010 and the American Statistical Association’s Waller Distinguished Teaching Career Award in 2016.

Soma Roy is Associate Professor of Statistics at California Polytechnic State University. She is the current editor for the Journal of Statistics Education and has presented talks related to the randomization-based curriculum and student learning at national meetings. She has written and reviewed assessment tasks for the Illustrative Mathematics Project, an initiative to support adoption of the K-12 core standards for statistics. She has been serving as a reader for Advanced Placement exams in Statistics since June 2012. She co-leads, with her colleagues at Cal Poly, a teacher-preparation workshop for AP Statistics teachers. She also has an active research program in health statistics involving undergraduates.

Todd Swanson is an Associate Professor of Mathematics at Hope College. He is a co-author of A Spiral Approach to Financial Mathematics, Precalculus: A Study of Functions and their Applications, Understanding our Quantitative World, Projects for Precalculus, which was an INPUT Award winner, and Introduction to Statistical Investigations, which was a Most Promising New Textbook Award winner. He has published articles in Mathematics Teacher, Journal of Statistics Education, Statistics Education Research Journal, and Stats: The Magazine for Students of Statistics. He has presented at numerous national meetings, workshops, and mini-courses about innovative ways to teach mathematics and statistics that focus on guided-discovery methods and projects.

Jill L. VanderStoep is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Hope College. She has participated in efforts to develop and implement simulation/randomization-based curricula at Hope College since 2005. She has presented on the curriculum and assessment results at national conferences and has co-led workshops on introducing and implementing the simulation/randomization-based curriculum. She has co-authored articles published in the Journal of Statistics Education, Statistics Education Research Journal, and The American Statistician.

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