Statistics Everywhere!

R and Excel
R and Excel are the statistics workhorse’s for many university students around the world including myself.

Statistics has an interesting way of influencing almost everything you do in university life, or at least that seems to be the case for me. It all started with my class Research Methods in Social Science back in November. In the course of doing research we had to use statistics to analyze our results. The only problem for me was that I had never taken a statistics class in my life. We covered the basics enough for me to understand what my data meant to some extent, but I knew I could have gone deeper if I had more background in the area. With this in mind I signed up for a statistics class in April. Little did I know just how beneficial this might be.

A few weeks ago I blogged about my Experiential Learning. For the past month I’ve been teaching a statistics and probability unit to some grade 9’s at a local private school. This week was our busiest yet as we focused on our final project, creating a survey and analyzing the data we collected. The students made a wonderful survey to assess the difficulty of Coast Mountain Academy in relation to other schools. We handed out the surveys on Wednesday and have been busy analyzing the data ever since. It’s exciting to see a project like this come together. As a highly inexperienced teacher it gives me a lot of pride to see my students making clear graphs that accurately portray the data. I’m consistently amazed by what you can do with statistics. Statistics is used almost as a Rosetta stone to interpret raw data and transform it into graphs and words that can be easily understood. The final project is due next week and I’m so excited to see what the students conclude from it.

Another opportunity to use statistics in the real world occurred today. In Admissions at Quest we often organize campus visits for prospective students, parents, and high school counselors. A full visit consists of sitting in on a class, taking a campus tour, eating lunch with students, and meeting with admission counselors. After each campus visit we ask the visitors to fill out a quick feedback form for comments and critiques so we can continually improve the experience of visiting campus. Part of this form also includes a rating scale about how helpful each part of the visit was (from 1 – 5). Part of my job today was to look at all this data and pull together meaningful graphs and figures to show what parts of the campus visit visitors find most and least helpful. Getting the opportunity to use things I’ve learned in class in a real world setting is pretty amazing and I’m almost certain it will happen again.

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