Saturday, August 1, 2009

Off to Washington, D.C.

The poster is done and printed. On Tuesday, I will facilitate a discussion about
the basics of the SATS at a breakfast at 7:00 a.m. - 8:15 a.m. My poster has to be up by 8:00 a.m. Hard to be in two places at once. My friend, Carmen, is going to put up the poster. I've given her a "map" of the layout of the poster. I am pleased with the final version.

Last night I send out the final SATS files to instructors. A total of 20 sections. There are 5 sections which didn't go out because we don't have all the information from the instructors yet. The database for Spring 2009 is ready for the cluster group to look at. I hope to put the final files from Fall 07, Spring 09, and Fall 08 together so that we have a complete data base for the four semesters. Candace is going to work on constructing the data file for the course surveys. I did the instructor survey data file several weeks ago.

Best sign off. It will be an early morning as we travel to D.C.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Finalizing the Poster for JSM

Finalizing my poster for the Joint Statistical Meetings is much harder than I thought that it would be. I've got the paper in which I can explain things, but I feel that I need to limit the graphs and computer output. But with the poster, you want graphs and output and limit the words.

I've got around 11 - 12 sheets of paper to tell my story at 24 point font. The point of the JSM poster is to discuss simple analyses that instructors can do with their SATS results. I keep thinking of more things to add.

What about pre-test answers to "How good at mathematics are you?" Guess what . . . Students earning higher grades responded more favorably to the question. Is that so obvious that no one would want to know that? Or should it be included because it confirms what instructors would think would be true?

Tomorrow I fly to Pennsylvania to visit my friend Carmen. Carmen and I met years ago at a conference and have been friends for almost 10 years. This will be the first time that I've been to Carmen's house. We will drive to D.C. on Sunday for JSM. Finding someone that you can share a hotel room at conferences is a good thing, and it is even better when you become friends! In 2006, I visited her in Chile when she was on sabbatical and then we went to the Internation Conference on Teaching Statistics (ICOTS) in Brazil.

Last week, I submitted to MC's Human Subject Review Board the request to continue The SATS Project. When doing research with humans, one needs to get Board approval especially if you will be presenting your work. The SATS is noninvasive and does not cause harm, but we still get Board approval and students sign a consent form (as well as instructors).

Okay, back to work.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pictures from USCOTS

USCOTS and first half of July

We have 6 members in the cluster group plus Candace and I. We had two meetings with the entire group and several individual meetings. One member is working on her dissertation -- translating the SATS and working to align elements of the SATS with some educational theories.

Working through Survey Monkey, I've got all the surveys ready for the Fall data collection (Pre-test, Post-test, Instructor survey, Course survey, and Request Survey). I spent a lot of time working on the request survey. We've had researchers who want to match the SATS results with some other results (exams, attendance, Statistical Reasoning Assessment (SRA), Comprehensive Assessment of Outcomes in a First Statistics course (CAOS), etc.). Since our Board approval and consent form does not allow us to give instructors students' names, we can't help these researchers. Our solution is for researchers to give the results which need to be matched in the Grade file. We'll do the matching and then give the researchers the file without the names. Believe it or not, this solution took us some time to develop it! It seems so simple now.

I've been chasing the last of the grade files while Candace has been writing code to help with the matching. Data collection this Spring has been a nightmare.

I'm still working on the TAS paper. This paper will be very similar to the poster that I will be presenting in D.C. in August.

Oh yes, the cluster group had its first conference call on the 21st. We discussed EVT (Expectancy Value Theory of Motivation). I must admit that I didn't follow everything that was discussed. But I will spend some more time studying.

Lots of work this week.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

USCOTS - Day 1

Although the conference didn't officially start until this evening's mixer, I consider today -- Day 1.

Business breakfast: discussed the day's plans with Candace.

Meeting 1: Met with Dennis Pearl to talk about grants for The SATS Project. Lots of good suggestions.

Duelling Computers: Candace and I sat in her hotel room with both laptops going. We were trying to figure out if it is possible to match SATS Pre-test results to Post-test results in Excel. We determined that one can't. So Candace will have to figure out how to get SPSS version 17 to work like SPSS version 15 worked. It is frustrating when you think that you have a problem worked out to only have it come back when you "upgrade" software packages.

Something simple -- like matching scores from the Pre- to scores from the Post- is NOT an easy task when you have file after file, when some of the files have 80 or so entries, when students REVERSE their first name with their last name or misspell their name, or when students only take the Pre- or just the Post- test. The first year of data collection, I did the matching visually, and Candace double checked me. I would miss the switching of names. Candace wrote SPSS code which did the matching (with some human interventions -- name reversal or misspelling), but the new version of SPSS isn't implementing the code. Aargh!

After a very late lunch, I finalized the poster and did some final copying for the cluster group.

FIRST CLUSTER GROUP meeting: Overall, it was a good meeting. We have some good researchers to work with.

Our group is interested in reading some articles on expectancy-value theory of motivation. So for one of our first conference calls, we are planning to read: Wigfield, A., & Eccles, J. (2000). Expectancy-value theory of achievement motivation. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25, 68–81.

The plan is to have the group members "naturally" break into smaller groups of 2 - 3 and work on projects. Candace and I will facilitate as needed.

Right now, there is one group which may work on investigating the database. What hidden gems of knowledge about attitudes does it hold?

There is another researcher who may want to work with me and my research student on students' perception of statistics.

There will probably be another group (larger) which will look at expectancy-value theory.

But, we will see how things work out

MIXER: So many folks that I know from various conferences that I've gone to throughout the year as well as grading the AP exam. Ron Wasserstein, Joan Garfield, Chris Franklin, Deb Rumsey, Beth Chance, Allen Rossman, Bob Delmas, Jessica Utts, George Cobb, Amy Fraelich, Carolyn Cuff, Kim Gilbert, Jackie Dietz, Jennifer Kaplan, John Holcomb, Jackie Miller, Milo Schield, and the list goes on.

Well, it is off to bed for me. Oh yeah, Candace gave me a July 9th deadline for a rough draft of my article for The American Statistician. She also is extremely concerned about my fall schedule -- 4 different preps -- 16 hours in the classroom per week plus an independent study (research). When will I have anytime to do any research?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Columbus, Day 0

Uneventful trip to Columbus. The best kind of trip when one is flying!

USCOTS is held at the Blackwell hotel and Pfahl Conference Center. The Blackwell is one of my favorite hotels. The hotel is associated with the Business Department at OSU, and many of the hotel workers are students. The hotel staff treats you wonderfully.

I had dinner with Candace Schau (my research collaborator) and Patti Collins. Patti teaches at BYU and is the voice of many of the "Stat Tutor" lessons which go with Moore's The Basic Practice of Statistics. Of course, we talked about the SATS, students, teaching, and even a bit about life too.

Candace and I talked about some research that I did concerning the institutions that we have SATS data and their Carnigie classifications.

We have a full day planned before we meet with our cluster group in the early evening.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Finalizing Things for USCOTS

I am back in Monmouth -- at least for 36 hours. I leave tomorrow (Wednesday) for Columbus, Ohio. Today I need to finalize my poster, print the poster, and print copies of my preceedings' paper that I wrote for the Joint Statistical Meetings last year.

I hope that we can stir up more interets on studying attitudes toward statistics at USCOTS. Instructors come up with these great teaching ideas, but they need to study whether these ideas are working for the students. (1) Are these ideas enriching learning? and (2) What effect do they have on attitudes?

Here is some information about The SATS Project:

Goals of The SATS © Project

To understand:

  • Students’ attitudes toward statistics
  • How these attitudes impact statistical thinking in the classroom and in life
  • What statistics instructors can do to improve students’ attitudes

The SATS© Project

  • Creation of a data warehouse of SATS© Pre- and Post-test data from US post-Secondary Statistics classes.
  • Students’ results are matched with Instructor and Course surveys and students’ actual grades.
  • Instructor and Course Surveys have been created and are an area of current research.
  • Fourth Semester of data collection (w/out funding)
  • So far, 29 instructors, 76 sections from 22 institutions are participating
  • Instructors receive (1) Data file with each students’ raw data (except name), SAC scores (Pre- and Post-), and grade; (2) Supporting Documents

Friday, June 19, 2009

Summer Plans

Not in any specific order:

  • Prepare for the USCOTS research cluster
  • Finish paper for The American Statistician
  • Present poster at USCOTS, Columbus, Ohio, June 26 - 27
  • Present poster at JSM (Joint Statistical Meetings), Washington, D.C., August 2 - 6
  • Finalize the data sets from Fall 2008 - Spring 2009
  • Continue to look for funding for The SATS Project
  • Prepare for Fall 2009 - Spring 2010 data collection
  • Prepare for Fall 2009 - Spring 2010 research

Getting ready for USCOTS 2009

USCOTS stands for "United States Conference on Teaching Statistics." Candace and I are preparing for our research cluster on the SATS. In our research cluster, there will be a group of around 5-9 people who are interested in studying attitudes toward statistics. USCOTS will be held in Columbus, OH, June 26 - 27. Our cluster group will decide upon one research question which we will work on during the next two years. We are expected to present our findings at the next USCOTS in 2011. Candace and I will also meet with individuals who are interested in the SATS.

Today, I am catching up on e-mails and attempting to summarize The SATS Project work that we've done for the last two years.

Candace and I are creating a database of SATS results from students in various courses from across the nation. However, the database is currently lots of files and are not combined into one file.

We've been allowing any instructor who wants to collect data on their students use our service, but we need to stop and access the types of institution, class size, type of instructors, type of class, etc. We need to determine the type of data that we have to determine what we have that is missing.