Jul 16

The pearls of AP Statistics 5

Reducing memorization: Don't do for your students what they can do on their own

They say: The proportion of the observations that fall in a certain category is the frequency (count) of observations in that category divided by the total number of observations. The percentage is the proportion multiplied by 100. Proportions and percentages are also called relative frequencies and serve as a way to summarize the measurements in categories of a categorical variable. A frequency table is a listing of possible values for a variable, together with the number of observations for each value. (Agresti and Franklin, p.26) Insight. Don’t mistake the frequencies as values of a variable. They are merely a summary of how many times the observation (a shark attack) occurred in each category (region) (same source, p.27)

I say: Each time I see something in bold font, I think: is this something I have to remember? In this case, I would like my students to remember only the definitions of relative frequencies and frequency tables. Everything else is something the students have to understand after having worked through examples. Don't make your students memorize every little detail. Make them understand as much as possible and memorize as little as possible. Explaining and requiring minutiae is the best way to kill researchers in your students. I would not make this post if the book did not have many trivialities like this.

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