Using simulation and structured group work to address statistical misconceptions

Scott Streiner, Mary Besterfield-Sacre, Sam Donovan

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

    Abstract

    There is significant interest in research regarding student understanding and performance, especially in probability and statistics. Past research has focused on misconceptions in statistical inference, but, there is little research regarding statistical misconceptions for undergraduate engineering students. Additionally, engineering educators recognize that active-learning strategies can improve undergraduate STEM education, but unfortunately intervention-based research on reducing statistical misconceptions is not prevalent. This research aims to address these literature gaps by employing a simulation-based structured group work activity whose goal was to increase awareness of and help students overcome misconceptions regarding the Central Limit Theorem (CLT). The CLT was chosen based on its abstract, non-intuitive nature, prevalence in the literature, and its foundational importance to the field of probability and statistics. Informed by the work of Schwartz and Bransford, this study draws on contrasting cases in conjunction with a simulation-based group assignment given to undergraduate industrial engineering students enrolled in an intermediate-level probability and statistics course at the University of Pittsburgh. Through this active-learning intervention, the following research questions are addressed: (1) How can active-learning strategies help students overcome misconceptions in statistics? (2) How do active-learning strategies affect the retention of statistical concepts across a curriculum?

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publicationFIE 2016 - Frontiers in Education 2016
    Subtitle of host publicationThe Crossroads of Engineering and Business
    PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
    ISBN (Electronic)9781509017904
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Nov 28 2016
    Event46th Annual Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE 2016 - Erie, United States
    Duration: Oct 12 2016Oct 15 2016

    Publication series

    NameProceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE
    Volume2016-November
    ISSN (Print)1539-4565

    Other

    Other46th Annual Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE 2016
    CountryUnited States
    CityErie
    Period10/12/1610/15/16

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Software
    • Education
    • Computer Science Applications

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  • Cite this

    Streiner, S., Besterfield-Sacre, M., & Donovan, S. (2016). Using simulation and structured group work to address statistical misconceptions. In FIE 2016 - Frontiers in Education 2016: The Crossroads of Engineering and Business [7757428] (Proceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE; Vol. 2016-November). Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.. https://doi.org/10.1109/FIE.2016.7757428