Lessons & Questions on: SLO-IVD


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. [...]


Longitudinal vs. Cross-sectional Approaches

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This section deals primarily with the following elements of the COMPARABLE framework: L: Would the comparison benefit from a longitudinal/cross-sectional analysis? B: Were base rates considered? Were relative and absolute increases considered? P: Were the pictorial/graphical representations fair and unbiased? Did they help illustrate the data or were they eye-candy? Note to instructors: We are [...]


Activities Following “Percentages, the Swiss Army Knife of Comparison”

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Questions: 1. Rick Santorum, a candidate for the 2012 Republican nomination, claimed that “62 percent of kids who go into college with a faith commitment leave without it.” [Source: http://bit.ly/A77XED] What is being explicitly compared here? Is it a longitudinal or cross-sectional comparison? If 62 percent is the “part”, what is the “whole”? 2. Of [...]

Longitudinal Analysis: SIDS and Prone Sleeping in Norway

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This is an amazing chart — sad in one way, but uplifting in another, because it shows how stats-informed public policy can make a difference. The chart represents the incidence of SIDS (“crib death”) in Norway plotted out against the rise and fall of parents that put their children to sleep on their stomach. (Which [...]

Farm Share of Food Dollar and Subgroups

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As we say in the COMPARABLE checklist, the story is often somewhere in the edges. Take this chart of the proportion of a food dollar which goes to the farmer vs. post-farm activities. At first it seems to show declining farm revenue as the the market bill (which includes everything from transportation to preparation) climbs: [...]


Questions: Student Loan Debt Surpasses Credit Card Debt

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Read the following comparison: Consumers now owe more on their student loans than their credit cards. Americans owe some $826.5 billion in revolving credit, according to June 2010 figures from the Federal Reserve. (Most of revolving credit is credit-card debt.) Student loans outstanding today — both federal and private — total some $829.785 billion, according to Mark [...]


Activity: Hidden Sugar Infographic

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From http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4543/14-MindBlowing-Facts-About-Sugar-Infographic.html   First, a comment — note how nicely their sources are laid out. You don’t know what goes to what, but at least you have a starting point. Now, questions: 1. Source: Who is OnlineSchools? What’s their stake in this issue? Did they collect the data, or did someone else? 2. Look at comparison [...]


Activity: New Buildings Per Person

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Did overbuilding houses lead to the recession? Matthew Yglesias shows this graph to demonstrate that overbuilding wasn’t the problem: He explains: On the general subject of recession myths, here’s another statistical look at the myth that the speculative boom in land prices led to some kind of crazy amount of overinvestment in houses. What we [...]


3 + C: Deficit Reduction

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  From http://www.dartmouth.edu/~benv/files/poll%20responses%20by%20party%20ID.pdf YouGov interviewed 1056 respondents who were then matched down to a sample of 1000 to produce the final dataset. The respondents were matched on gender, age, race, education, party identification, ideology, and political interest. YouGov then weighted the matched set of survey respondents to known marginal for the general population of the [...]