Consider this Thought
Basic Algebra Mandate
In 1992 I wrote to the Chancellor of Higher Education in NJ to express my concern for why basic algebra should not be mandated for all students in community colleges. You will find my letter here. I believe it is as relevant today as it was then.
It is here I hope to explore some of my thoughts and concerns about how we create statistically literate individuals.
I spent over 35 years teaching at the community college level. It is in that environment that one learns the importance of trying to deal introducing a difficult subject to generally non mathematically adept individuals. In addition, as one who was very interested in actually doing statistics, I generally sat in a department as an "isolated" statistician.
I have also worked with groups especially within New Jersey who were engaged in introducing new mathematical standards in the public schools which were attempting to incorporate statistical practice as early as first grade. This also involved concerns about what were the relevant mathematically related subjects to require both at the school and college levels.
At the other end of the spectrum I have taught classes within industry to engineers, scientists, and managers, often with disappointing results. I was the principal organizer of a major conference attempting to incorporate statistical aspects across the engineering curricula.
I believe that we should also strive to an idea of Statistics Across the Curriculum - in Elementary School, HS, College
And for the technically and mathematically inclined individuals - like engineers, scientists, etc - I say
Beware the over reliance on higher levels of math like calculus as well as probability theory - nice but confusing and since rarely actually applied there is a sad failure to make things really happen.
In 1986 I attended the National Congress on Engineering Education and drafted this resolution that still is relevant:
"Appropriate knowledge and practical experience of statistical experimental design data analysis and quality measurement technology must be an integral part of every engineering program. Such practices should be infused throughout the engineering curricula along with some formal coursework in these applied statistics areas. These practices should be an integral part of all laboratory experiences. Appropriate" statistical design and reliability should be incorporated in the engineering design requirements." (resolution to ABET in 1986)
Here are some of the topics I hope to discuss in varying degrees:
- Statistics ACROSS the Curriculum
- Is Algebra important
- Core Standards and Statistics Education
- What is meant by “passing” a test
- Thoughts on what is fundamental Statistics in engineering curricula
- Training in Industry
- Integrating practice into a college course
- Learn by doing