Chapter One


Chapter One Introduction

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A Note to Instructors We’ve broken this text up into chapters. In our estimation, each chapter could take one to two weeks depending on how much time in your class is dedicated to other activities and needs. A four-hour, twice-a-week-class with no other content or class-time obligations should be able to do a chapter a […]


Why We Compare

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Which intersection in town is the most dangerous? How much more expensive will college be if I graduate a year late?  Which product line has given our business the best overall return in the past two years?  At what rate is global temperature rising? How expensive was the most recent election compared to previous elections? […]


The Ten Minute Statistical Sprint

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Much of college is about the marathon – the 20-page term paper, the semester-long project. This course is not about marathons. This course is about sprinting. It’s about the 10 minute brainstorming session. It’s about speed chess. What we hope you will develop by the end of this course is the ability to critique a […]


How to Memorize Anything (A Detour)

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Let’s take a brief detour, since we asked you to memorize the above checklist, and since we will be asking you to memorize other things as well. A little instruction here can make your life easier, not just in this class, but in all your classes. Memorization is a lost art. Most students memorize by […]


The Golden Rule: Compare Like to Like When Possible, and Account for Things When Not

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This section deals with the following elements of the COMPARABLE framework: C: Were appropriate comparison groups chosen? Was like compared to like? A1: Which factors were accounted for/controlled for (population, inflation, income) and which were not?  There are many rules that apply to making fair comparisons, but there is one rule that leads, in one […]


Why Comparing Averages Is Just a Starting Point

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This section deals primarily with the following elements of the COMPARABLE framework: E:  What is the story of the edges? What is the story of the center? How are they different and what does that mean?  THE STORY OF THE CENTER We’ve been looking at various comparisons, in many cases using what statisticians call measures […]


Activities to Reinforce: “The Golden Rule”

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The following questions can be answered in one to two sentences. While a variety of answers might make sense, there are right and wrong answers here. Think carefully about your answers. Write down your answers and bring them to class. We will review your answers either in class or in a net-mediated peer instruction activity. […]


Activities to Reinforce: “Why Comparing Averages is Just a Starting Point”

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Remember — questions will not only test the previous chapter. They will test all previous content (In this case everything from the golden rule, to subpopulations, to averages, to distributions). Figuring out which concept to apply to each problem is often the crucial skill, so we don’t indicate which concept comes into play. In some cases […]