INTRODUCTION TO STATISTICS
Math 1181, Spring 2005

Instructor: Dr. Rachel Hall
Office: 229 Barbelin.  Feel free to stop by anytime!
Office Hours:  M 12:30-2:00, W 1:30-3:00, and by appointment
Telephone: (610) 660-3096 (Office)
E-mail: rhall@sju.edu

IMPORTANT:  The following text is a summary of information on the Blackboard web site for this course.  Any changes to these policies will be posted on the web site.

Overview:  Statistical literacy is an essential skill that enables people to understand and make sensible decisions based on the analysis of numerical information. Data and numerical arguments exist not only in all areas of academic inquiry, but in everyday life.  Therefore, it is important for all citizens to study the fundamental methods and principles of statistics, the science of collecting, organizing and interpreting numerical data. My approach to this course is based on the following principles:

  1. Statistics is not number crunching. This course will focus on understanding statistical concepts and on interpreting and communicating the results of a statistical analysis. You will learn how to construct numerical arguments. The solution to a problem will not be a single numerical result or an exact answer, but rather an explanation that includes such phrases as ``there is strong evidence that..'' and ``the data suggest that...'' We will use the SPSS computer software package to do the numerical computations for us.
  2. Statistics involves the use of real data sets. In this course we will analyze data from a variety of applications with an emphasis on the social sciences. We will learn how to place the data and its analysis in context.
  3. Active learning is the key to success. Much of the class time will be spend working with your classmates on data analysis activities. I will be available for questions, suggestions and encouragement. To fully benefit from this approach, you must come to class prepared.
Course Goals:  This semester I would like to help you develop the ability to apply and interpret the results of a variety of statistical techniques from both descriptive and inferential statistics; an understanding of the fundamental concepts in statistics including sampling, experimentation, variability, distribution, association, causation, estimation, confidence, hypothesis testing, and significance; the ability to critically review and analyze statistical arguments found in the popular press and in scholarly journals; and an appreciation for the relevance and importance of statistics.

Text and Software:  Peck, Olsen and Devore, Introduction to Statistics and Data Analysis, second edition, Brooks-Cole, Thomson Learning, 2005.  The text is bundled with a CD of the student version of SPSS 12.0, a computer software package. The text also comes with a CD with data sets, SPSS directions, links to the web and study aids. You should bring your text book and the CD to every class.  The SPSS software package is available at the University computer labs.  In the past, we have found that students prefer to have the software on their own computers so they can work with it at any time. The student version that comes with your text has been greatly discounted. If you purchase your text at another site, you may have to pay an increased fee for the software.

Grading Policy: Your grade for this course will be based on written examinations, quizzes, written projects, homework assignments and group projects using the following scale: three midterms 15% each, group project 40%, homework and quizzes 10%, and class participation 5%.  The cutoffs for each grade are as follows: 93% A, 90% A-, 87% B+, 83% B, 80% B-, 77% C+, 73% C, 70% C-, 67% D+, 60% D.  Anything below 60% is an F.  Grades may be curved at the end of the semester.

Project:  There will be an extensive group project.  It will consist of a number of short assignments and a final presentation, which will have an oral and written component.  Final presentations will be made during finals week at the scheduled exam time for our class.

Tests:  There will be three midterm exams scheduled throughout the semester.  Calculators are needed.  If you forget your calculator, you are out of luck; sharing is not allowed.  Cell phones may not be used as calculators.  A 3 x 5 card with notes is permitted.  Since either looking at another student's test or allowing another student to see your test are violations of the academic honesty policy, keep your test covered at all times.  See also the policy on makeup exams.

Homework:  Homework should represent your own work and be neatly handwritten or typed, on one side of the page only.  Remove any messy edges and staple or clip the pages together. You may hand in one assignment late at the next class period. However, repeated late assignments will be penalized. I will not accept any assignment after that assignment has been graded and returned to the class.

Quizzes:  There will be brief quizzes based on your notes, readings, and homework about once a week.

Makeup Tests and Quizzes:  Students are required to take all exams and quizzes when scheduled. If you have missed an exam for any reason, you must contact me within 48 hours, either by email (rhall@sju.edu) or phone (610-660-1540).  If you do not contact me within 48 hours, you may not take a makeup.  If you have missed the exam for a valid, verifiable reason, and you present your note to me, you may take a makeup with no penalty.  If you do not have a valid, verifiable reason (for example, you overslept), you may take a makeup with a 30% penalty, assuming you contacted me within 48 hours.  Quizzes may not be made up under any circumstances.  However, the lowest 1/3 of quiz grades will be dropped.

Class Participation:  You are expected to demonstrate your interest in the course by attending class and participating in the activities.  The class participation grade is based on your contributions to class discussion.  If you feel uncomfortable speaking in class, you can participate by e-mailing or visiting me in office hours.  If it is necessary to miss a class, obtain the notes and assignments from another student.  In case of illness or other emergency, notify me by e-mail (rhall@sju.edu).

Academic Honesty: Dishonesty includes cheating on a test, falsifying data, misrepresenting the work of others as your own (plagiarism), and helping another student cheat or plagiarize. Academic dishonesty will result in a grade of zero on that particular assignment; serious or repeated infractions of the Academic Honesty policy will result in failure of the course. I will report all violations to the Academic Honesty Board.  For complete information about the University's policy on Academic Honesty, consult the Student Handbook 2004-2005.


Rachel Hall  /  January 18th, 2005