MATH 145  Elementary Statistics

Spring 2009

11:00-11:50 MTWTh

149 Cowley Hall

Instructor:  Dr. Todd Will    

Office:  2030 Cowley Hall, 785-6650

Course Description:   An introductory course covering fundamentals of modern statistical methods. Topics include descriptive statistics, the binomial and normal distributions, estimation, and hypothesis testing. The z, t, F and chi-square test statistics are introduced.  Prerequisite: MTH 050 or an appropriate placement test score.

Text: Statistics, the exploration and analysis of data, 5th Ed., by Devore and Peck

Calculator:  You will need a calculator for this course.  Although a basic calculator will do, you will be better off if you have a statistics calculator such as a TI-83 or higher model.  If you have only a basic calculator you will not be able to readily check hand calculations which will be required on exams and quizzes. 

Attendance: Your alert and engaged attendance is your ticket to my office hours.  If you miss class due to circumstances beyond your control or if despite efforts you do not understand material covered in class, I am eager to provide additional help!   On the other hand, if you choose to skip class or sleep through class I will not provide private tutoring on the material you missed. 

Office Hours:  My office hours are currently set for MTWTh 9-10:30.  We’ll see how well that works for everyone.  Any changes will be posted on my door and on my web page.  Office hours are first come, first serve; you do not need to make an appointment.  If you can't meet during my office hours, feel free to contact me by phone or email to set up an appointment.  Ideally when you visit my office you should have a short list of questions either from the homework, the text, or lecture notes.  Don't let your list get too long before visiting!   Three 20-minute visits are usually far more useful and feasible than an hour long visit.  Waiting until the day before an exam will usually put you at the end of a long line outside my office. 

Exam dates: Unless a change is announced at least a week in advance, your midterm exams will be on Feb. 16, March 12, April 13, May 4.  The time of your final exam is set in stone:  May 12, 4:45-6:45. 

Grading:  Subject to minor changes, your final grade will be based on quizzes and worksheets (20%), four midterm exams (60%), and a comprehensive final (20%).   Percentage to letter grade conversions:  92-A, 82-B, 70-C, 60-D.  Final cutoffs for these grades as well as cutoffs for AB and BC will be determined based on clustering of scores.

Exams and Quizzes:  There will be no make-up exams or quizzes.  Your lowest two quiz scores will be replaced by the percentage you get on the final exam if it is higher.  This policy essentially allows you to miss up to two quizzes without significant penalty.  Missing an exam will almost certainly adversely affect your grade in the course.  If you provide documentation that convinces me that you missed an exam due to circumstances beyond your control, I will give your final exam additional weight to make up for the missed exam.  In the absence of such documentation, you will receive a zero on the exam.  Exams may have a take-home portion.  Quizzes will be unannounced and based closely on homework assignments. 

Homework:  Although homework will not be collected, thoughtful and timely completion of the assigned homework is the most reliable path to success in this course.  Since quizzes will be based closely on homework problems, neglecting your homework may make it difficult to complete quizzes in the allotted time.

Accommodations:  Any student with a documented disability (e.g., physical, learning, psychiatric, vision, or hearing, etc.) who needs to arrange reasonable accommodations must contact the instructor and the Disability Resource Services Office (165 Murphy Library) at the beginning of the semester.


General Education Student Learning Outcomes:

1)      Foundations of Knowledge:

a)      Construct and use models to analyze, explain or predict phenomena

b)      Use mathematical and logical methods to solve problems

c)      State an idea/argument and develop it in a logical, organized form using conventional grammar, punctuation and formatting

2)      Inquiry and Critical Thinking:

a)      Investigate and assess hypotheses using appropriate methods

b)      Detect patterns underlying phenomena and draw reasonable inferences from information

c)      Reason logically, creatively and independently


How the Learning Outcomes are realized in this course:

1)      Major computational objectives of the course.

a)      Calculate a variety of test statistics.

b)      Use appropriate statistical tables

c)      Understand mathematical formulas

2)      Major conceptual objectives of the course

a)      Understand which kinds of problems in the real world can be solved using statistical methods

b)      Understand a variety of statistical methods for making inferences

c)      Understand the limitations of statistical tests