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.