Math 1181, Spring 2009

Instructor: Dr. Rachel Hall
Office: 229 Barbelin
Office Hours: T 9:30-10:30, W 10:30-11:30, F 11-12, and by appointment
Telephone: (610) 660-3096 (Office)

Overview:  Statistics is the science of collecting, organizing and interpreting numerical data. 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 also in everyday life.  The following principles have informed the design of this course:

  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 to apply and interpret the results of a variety of statistical techniques from both descriptive and inferential statistics; to understand the fundamental concepts in statistics including sampling, experimentation, variability, distribution, association, causation, estimation, confidence, hypothesis testing, and significance; to critically review and analyze statistical arguments found in the popular press and in scholarly journals; and to appreciate the relevance and importance of statistics.

Prerequisite: none.  Students who are concerned about their placement in this class should discuss it with me in the first week of classes.

Text:  The Basic Practice of Statistics, 4th edition by David S. Moore, chapters 1-18 and 20.

SPSS:  New versions of the textbook purchased at the SJU bookstore will be bundled with the student Windows-based version of the SPSS software and an access code for the on-line companion and homework system StatsPortal. If you elect to buy a used book or not to buy a book, you will still need to purchase the access code for StatsPortal. You do not have to buy SPSS since it is available on the computer labs on campus. If you want your own copy of SPSS, note that it is much more expensive to buy a stand-alone version of this software.  If you do not have a Windows computer, your cheapest option is to purchase StatsPortal, which includes an electronic version of the book.  A student version of SPSS is not available for Mac.

Calculators:  You will need a calculator for homework and exams.  Any calculator below TI-92 is acceptable.  If you forget to bring your calculator to a quiz or exam, you are out of luck—sharing is not allowed.

Homework:  You will need to register and use StatsPortal to submit homework assignments online.  You should start working on the homework problems for a section as soon as that section is covered in class.  Some assignments will require the use of SPSS.  Late homework will not be accepted; however, the lowest two grades will be dropped.

Class Survey Analyses:  You and your classmates will design a survey and we will use the data throughout the semester.  Four assignments will be based on this data. Although you may consult with other students and seek help from me, the work you turn in should be your own. Be sure to cite all sources properly, including internet sources.

Tests: There will be three tests, scheduled for February 18, March 18, and April 15 (all Wednesdays).  A cumulative final exam will be given on Wednesday, May 6, 2-4 pm.   Makeup tests will only be given to students who contact me by email ( or phone (610-660-3096) within 48 hours of missing a test.  Students with a valid, verifiable reason for missing a test or the final may take a makeup without penalty if they bring validation; those who have missed a test without a valid, verifiable reason may take a makeup with a 30% penalty, assuming that they contact me within 48 hours.   Valid excuses include illness, death in the family, or an official university activity such as an athletic event or field trip. 

Grades: Grades will be weighted as follows:

240 points:            three test grades (each is worth 80 points)
200 points:            final exam grade
80 points:              homework grades (each is worth 10 points; lowest two grades dropped)
80 points:            four analyses of class surveys (each is worth 20 points)

The grade cutoffs are 560 A, 540 A-, 520 B+, 500 B, 480 B-, 460 C+, 440 C, 420 C-, 400 D+, 360 D, and below 360 F. Grades may be curved at the end of the semester. You have the option of replacing either your total quiz grade or your lowest test grade with your final exam grade.

Academic Honesty: Dishonesty includes cheating on a test, falsifying data, misrepresenting the work of others as your own (plagiarism, or improper citation of sources), and helping another student cheat or plagiarize. At the very least, an academic honesty infraction will result in the filing of a violation report and a grade of zero on that particular assignment; serious or repeated infractions of the Academic Honesty policy will result in failure of the course. For complete information about the University’s policy on Academic Honesty, consult the Student Handbook 2008-2009.

Attendance:  Class attendance is mandatory.  Although I do not have a rigid cut policy, anyone who has missed lots of classes and is doing poorly in the course should not expect much sympathy from me.  If you do miss a class, it is your responsibility to make up the material and make sure your work is turned in on time.  If you have a special circumstance that may interfere with your regular attendance, please discuss it with me.

Students with Disabilities: Students who have or think they may have a disability (learning, physical, or psychological) are encouraged to contact Services for Students with Disabilities, Room 113, Science Center, 610-660-1774 or 610-660-1620 as early as possible in the semester.  Accommodations can only be provided to a student with current documentation (within 3 years).  Students are encouraged to discuss their instructional needs and accommodations (“reasonable academic adjustments”) with their professors early in the semester.  All student requests for extended time to take quizzes or exams in a distraction free environment must be discussed with the professor a minimum of one week prior to the scheduled date of the quiz or exam.  The student must complete the Extended-Time Request Form, obtain the professor’s approval, and submit the form to the office of Services for Students with Disabilities a minimum of 3 days prior to the date of the scheduled exam.  Failure to follow these procedures could result in a denial of the request.  Exceptions to exam schedules requires prior written approval of the professor.

Schedule (subject to change):




Assignments due

Important dates

Week 1

Chapter 1

HW 1:  1.24, 1.30, 1.32, 1.36, 1.37, and 1.38, due 1/28


Week 2

Chapter 2 & 3

HW 2:  2.30, 2.34, 2.38, and 2.44, due 2/6


Week 3

Chapter 3, Intro to SPSS

HW 3: 3.28, 3.30, 3.32, 3.34, 3.36, 3.38, 3.46, 3.48, due 2/14


Week 4

Chapter 4 & 5



Week 5

Chapter 7 (review) & 6

HW 4: 6.24, 6.28, 6.30, 8.30, 8.34, 8.36, 8.38, 8.40, due 2/27

Analysis 1, due 2/24


Test 1, Friday, February 20, Chapters 1-5, 7

Week 6

Chapter 8 & 9



Week 7

Chapter 10

HW 5:  9.26, 9.28, 9.30, 9.34, 10.4, 10.9, 10.13, 10.15, 10.30, 10.32, 10.34, 10.36, 10.51, due 3/18

Spring Break, 3/8-3/14

Week 8

Chapter 11


Freshman grades due, 3/18

Test 2, Tuesday, March 24, Chapters 6, 8, 9, 10

Week 9

Chapter 11 & 14

Analysis 2, due 3/31

HW 6:  11.8, 11.9, 11.20, 11.21, 11.31, 11.32, 11.34, 11.36, 11.41, 11.42, due 4/1


Week 10

Chapter 15

HW 7:


Week 11

Chapter 16

HW 8:

Analysis 3

Last withdraw, 4/6

Good Friday, 4/10

Week 12

Chapter 17 & 18

HW 9:


Test 3, Wednesday, April 15, Chapters 11, 14, 15, 16, 17

Week 13

Chapter 18 & 19

HW 10:


Week 14


Analysis 4

Last day of class, 5/1

Final Exam, Wednesday, May 6, 2:00-4:00 pm, Chapters 1-11, 14-19