More thoughts on my “radical redesign” of Intro Stats (part 2)
Here are my first set of thoughts on my “radical redesign”.
- I think we need to introduce non-parametric statistics in intro stats. I basically had no idea about non-parametric statistics until I taught a course called non-parametric statistics in my first semester as a professor at Loyola. I’m totally sold on them. I think we do a disservice teaching all these parametric procedures, which were useful 50 years ago (I mean they are still useful) because the extra assumptions were greatly simplifying. But we have computers and don’t really need that extra level of simplification all the time now.
- I think we should mention the t-test as basically an after thought. My plan is to introduce hypothesis testing using simulation and directly examine the distribution of the test statistic with this simulation. Once you do that the fact that it’s a t-distribution (or whatever distribution it is) doesn’t even really matter as long as you have the distribution. Students get way too hung up on using t-tests like they are the end all be all of hypothesis testing. It should be presented as ONE test among many.
- I’m going to completely get rid of slides. I’m going to go into every class with a plan and a data set. All theory will be written on the board while trying to get students involved as much as possible. I will write simulations on the spot to show students examples of code. (I will keep the simulations simple). I will then do all data analysis on the spot. NO SLIDES.
- Something that I am on the fence about that I read in the GAISE report: dropping probability theory. In the section with a list of topics to potentially drop they include this. The more I think about it though, the more it makes sense. We already have other classes that will cover probability in much more detail and we don’t need much probability to actually do a lot of data analysis (we do need some though).
- Another note the GAISE report makes that I have been screaming about for years is getting rid of the F@#$ing tables. Students in my class aren’t allowed to use Z/T/whatever tables to look up probability. It’s an antiquated skill and it has been for like 30 years. Yet it’s still taught in so many intro stat classes. If I see students using a table, I reserve the write to rip up the table on the spot and throw the pieces into the air while yelling about how it’s 2020 not 1920.