Statistics in Research for MAT (Cohort VI students)    Stat 5385 (CRN 25314)

WELCOME!  ˇBIENVENIDOS!              Monday, January 26, 2009


Description from Graduate Catalog:  “An introduction to statistical modeling of a univariate response conditional on a test of explanatory variables.  Classical formulation of multiple linear regression and analysis of variance.  Some discussion of experimental design from power considerations.  Selected topics from generalized linear models, nonparametric regression, and quasilikelihood estimation.  Emphasis is on model building, fitting, validation, and subsequent inferences.  Analysis of real data using major statistical software packages.  Prerequisite:  MATH 3323, STAT 4380 or instructor approval.” 

Because this is the MAT section of the course, we’ll include practical emphasis on conceptual understanding, interpretation and some computation of statistics used in education research.

Proposed description:  Comprehensive overview of quantitative research methods in mathematics education research, including: descriptive and inferential statistics, surveys, experiments, psychometrics, simple and multiple regression, ANOVA, chi-squared, logistic regression.  Course emphasizes critical thinking, conceptual understanding, being able to generate and interpret technology output and research article reporting.


Goals: This course is designed not only to make you more informed as a reader/consumer of statistics in published educational research, but also more empowered as a math educator able to use statistical ideas and tools in conducting your own research. 


Meetings:  Mondays (except March 16) 5-7:50 in Bell Hall 130A, but we may sometimes use a different room (e.g., Bell 130 computer lab area) for technology access.  The 5-7:50 window includes a 20 minute cushion and the actual timing of breaks within 5-7:50 will be chosen to accommodate class flow and needs.  Eating is okay in Bell 130A if it’s not distracting or messy, but is not allowed in the computer lab. 


Instructor:  Assoc. Prof. Dr. Larry Lesser (rhymes with “professor”, spelled like “<”)  

I began teaching (especially statistics!) university classes in 1988, and I’ve also worked in Texas as a state agency statistician and as a full-time high school teacher!  More info and resources are at:  (FYI:  from that URL, click “SCHEDULE” and you can access this syllabus if you ever misplace yours or want to explore its links directly). 


How to reach me:  my official Bell Hall 213 office hours will start off as Mon 4-4:50 & by appointment, with additional hours and changes to be announced/posted; also, feel free to ask me (or leave me) questions by phone (747-6845; “SIR-OUIJA”) or email (Lesser (at); when you email, please include “Monday class” in the subject line).  It’s my job and privilege to serve you and provide guidance so no need for you to wait a week until our next class meeting to get a question answered.  (In fact, I may send an email to the whole class in between some meetings to offer additional information or materials, so check your email regularly.) For your protection, emailed inquiries about confidential information such as grades must be from your UTEP account and accompanied by your 800 number.


Grades:  determined by the usual cutoffs of 90, 80, 70, 60, based on these parts:

Projects (65%):  these include labs, papers, reflections, article reviews, or chapter

presentations (see resources for giving oral presentations). All assignments must be word processed with double-spacing and a standard 12-point font (e.g., Times New Roman), checked for spelling and grammar, and have any appropriate output/graphics electronically pasted into the document.  Exercises/sections should be clearly marked, assembled in order, and stapled (not put into a folder or sleeve) with a meaningfully-titled identification coversheet on top. Many projects will be assigned to be done in teams.

Final (35%):  Mon., May 11, as scheduled by UTEP (actually, the registration booklet assigns us to 4-6:45pm, but we’ll see if it’s feasible and better to shift things to start at 5pm that day); you’ll be allowed your calculator and provided appropriate tables and formulas as announced

Attendance:  Subject to change if required by UTEP policy, your final course average will have 1.5 – 3U – E points added to it, where U = number of unexcused absences and E = number of excused absences.  This reflects how crucial participation and attendance are for this kind of interactive, beyond-the-book course, but without penalizing someone who has rare (excused) absences. [see “Attendance” section for more details]

Quizzes:  there will be occasional unannounced quizzes which will be taken into account only if your final average falls a point below a letter grade cutoff (i.e., they can only help)


Textbook: Vogt, W. P. (2007). Quantitative Research Methods for Professionals. Boston: Pearson.

Chapters will be covered in an order (1-11, 17, 16, then 15 & 12-14) and with relative emphases to support the goals of preparing you to interpret and conduct research.  This outline is subject to further refinement or modification by the instructor to take into account interests, backgrounds, resource availability, logistics, scheduling/sequencing issues, and balance between depth and breadth.  I may provide supplementary material for which you will also be responsible.  Since you know the order of chapters now, you are expected to read each chapter (and assess your understanding by taking that chapter’s Self-Test and checking your answers in the Appendix) before the class meeting it will be discussed, and bring your book to each class. 


Technology:  Bring a calculator to each class. The one I use/model in class is the TI-84+, so I recommend that you bring an 84+ (or 83+) if you have a choice. You’ll be allowed to use a stand-alone calculator (i.e., not a cell phone or laptop) on quizzes and tests, but still have to be prepared to “show your work” so that I can see your process and understanding and what you punched in the calculator.  [A simple example:  finding the mean of {0, 3, 6}, you can’t just say “3”, but need to write (0 + 3 + 6)/3 = 3.]  As logistics and interest allow, we’ll include explorations of how statistics are computed with technology such as Internet applets, graphing calculators, or software packages such as Minitab or Excel.  [see more information later under “Technology Resources”]


Academic Integrity:  As teachers, you especially appreciate that cheating, plagiarism and collusion in dishonest activities are serious acts which erode the university’s purpose and integrity and cheapen the learning experience for us all. Don’t resubmit work completed for other classes without specific acknowledgment and permission from me.  It is expected that work you submit will represent your own effort (or your own group’s effort, if it is a group project), will not involve copying from or accessing unauthorized resources or people (e.g., from a previous year’s class).  You must cite references that you do consult, using APA style (American Psychological Association, 5th edition) with complete citations even for websites and people you consult:   Violations of the UTEP policy ( may lead to disciplinary action from the Dean of Students (see course #20004 at

For Group Work:  Within a group, members are allowed to divide up subsets of the project for which individuals will take the initial responsibility for coordinating efforts, but it is assumed that by the time a group turns in a writeup that all members have read, discussed, and understand all parts of what is being turned in.  Group members may even discuss general ideas and strategies with members of other groups, but NOT share parts of actual written work.  At a minimum, to be safe, put away all written notes and writing materials and recording devices before having any intergroup conversations.  And if you still see a “gray area,” play it safe and ask the instructor!


Professionalism and Civility:   Along with basic standards of civility and citizenship (e.g., “Student Conduct” and “Disruptive Acts Policy” in the UTEP Catalog), students in this course are required to exhibit professionalism and to support a constructive, collegial, collaborative classroom culture where critique is focused respectfully on the intellectual merit of a position, not on the person expressing it.  You are also expected to use great discretion with cell phones and pagers during class time—if you are truly expecting an urgent call, please let me know and sit near the door to minimize disruption (and have your phone on “vibrate” instead of loud music, and have it handy so you don’t have to dig through a backpack for it).  Or you could give your family member or child care provider the phone number for the Bell Hall ACES lab station: 747-8814.   That way, you can keep your phone off during class, knowing that staff can quickly get you for a true emergency.

Finally, be open to local opportunities for professional growth and sharing.  For example, consider attending or presenting at the UTEP COE annual Summer Research Conference (in July).  Also, encourage K-12 students to make statistics connections while celebrating Pi Day (; March 14) or entering their local science fair or the ASA Poster Competitions (by April 1: And consider joining (at cheaper rates while you’re a student!) math education professional organizations at the local (GEPCTM), state (TCTM), or national levels (NCTM or ASA). 


Attendance:  Attendance is required and taken each meeting using a sign-in sheet and is very important considering that we meet only once a week and much of this course involves beyond-the-book group activities or discussions that are virtually impossible to recreate on one’s own.  The instructor may count late arrival, early departure, or blatant nonparticipation as a half-absence or even a full absence, depending on what is missed.  If you miss an exam without a documented strong excuse (e.g., a doctor’s note) relayed to me at the earliest opportunity, the score will be a 0. In general (out of fairness and logistics), late work will not be accepted and may be subject to a penalty in the rare case that it is. 

It’s your responsibility to….

(1) Sign the attendance sheet each day you attend

(2) Let me know by email (Lesser (at) or voicemail (747-6845) or daytime math dept. fax (747-6502) at the earliest opportunity if you have a situation which may affect a test, major assessment deadline, or multiple regular class meetings.  

(3) Give me a written note or email by the 15th day of the semester (Mon, Feb. 9) if you will have absence for religious holy days (which are excused, of course).  

(4) Give me a written note or email at the earliest opportunity if you are or may be called to military service and/or training during the course of the semester.

(5) Have a classmate give you copies of notes, handouts and announcements if you miss a class; write down at least 2 classmates’ contact information right here for this purpose:


classmate #1 name_____________________ phone_____________ email____________


classmate #2 name_____________________ phone_____________ email____________


classmate #3 name_____________________ phone_____________ email____________


As the UTEP Catalog says, “When in the judgment of the instructor, a student has been absent to such a degree as to impair his or her status relative to credit for the course, the instructor may drop the student from the class with a grade of “W” before the course drop deadline [April 3, Fri.] and with a grade of “F” after the course drop deadline.”  To be specific, having 3 or more unexcused absences may result in an instructor-initiated drop.  On a positive note, excellent attendance can actually improve your grade, as you can see by the formula under “Grades.”


Disabilities: If you have or believe you have a disability that will require accommodations or modifications, you may wish to self-identify by contacting the Disabled Student Services Office (DSSO; 747-5148; East Union Building room 106;; to show documentation or register for testing and services.  DSSO will ask you to discuss needed accommodations with me within the first 2 weeks of the semester or as soon as disability is known, and at least 5 working days before an exam.  You are responsible for making sure I receive any DSS accommodation letters and instructions.  DSSO provides note taking, sign language, interpreter, reader and/or scribe services, priority registration, adaptive technology, diagnostic testing for learning disabilities, assistance with learning strategies/tutoring, alternative testing location and format, and advocacy.  Information provided to DSSO is kept confidential.


Other Resources:  For those who may be helped by consulting statistics books for additional mathematical theory, conceptual intuition, or real-world connections, go to the UTEP library circulation desk and ask them to look under “Lesser”, “stat/math 5385” or “stat 1380.”  Also, be aware that there are lots of free statistics textbooks online that can be consulted as references as well (in GOOGLE, type:  online statistics textbooks) and there are various resources at  Please let me know of other resources you find particularly helpful that I may not know about. 


Applets to illustrate/explore statistical ideas (some may be helpful in your teaching, too!)


Journals that publish statistics education articles (in increasing emphasis on research):

or  (UTEP library subscribes to this)


The 2007 “SMER” report:


Resources for Literature Search or for Getting approval to conduct (local) research:



Classroom and curriculum connections:

There are many resources for teaching and learning statistics you may want to know about such as and

As teachers, you’ll want to make connections between the material you learn in this course and the probability/statistics TEKS (, the NCTM Principles and Standards for School Mathematics (, the PreK-8 Curriculum Focal Points (, the GAISE PreK-12 Curriculum Framework (, and foreign language statistics glossaries (e.g., or




TI-84+ Graphing Calculator Resources:

Guidebooks (User Manuals) are available at,

the calculator has built-in “help” (using the APP called CatalogHelp:,

and the Internet has lots of support for doing statistics on a graphing calculator, such as:  or or or

A useful paper in the Jan. 2007 Mathematics Teacher (pp. 375-8):  “Using Graphing Calculators to Do Statistics: A Pair of Problematic Pitfalls.”



Stats Software (in increasing order of appropriateness for younger audiences):

Minitab (in Bell 130 lab and also in some other campus labs such as CRBL 401-402;

for current hours of the CRBL lab, try 747-5223 or

options to demo, rent or buy at;

tutorials at or

StatCrunch:   (e.g.,

Fathom (grades 8 – College):

For introduction to Fathom, see pp. 598-603 in Nov. 2003 Mathematics Teacher

Tinkerplots (grades 4-8):

Probability Explorer (in Bell 130 lab):


Excel Spreadsheet Resources:

some may want to enhance Excel with an additional “add-ins” package such as

Useful articles include: and

Christie’s “Extracting Data off the Internet” on pp. 23-25 of the spring 2008 issue of Teaching Statistics

If you’re used to Office 2003, here’s how to find it in Office 2007:

Tip:  If “Data Analysis” is not listed as an option from the dropdown Tools menu of Microsoft Excel 2003, then from the Tools menu, drag down and select Add-Ins, then check the top 2 boxes for Analysis ToolPak.  If you’re using Excel 2007 and the “Data Analysis” icon is not in the DATA menu, here’s what you do:

Go to the Microsoft Office Button , and then click Excel Options.

Click Add-Ins, and then in the Manage box (at the bottom of the page) select Excel Add-Ins. Click GO. In the Add-ins available box, select the Analysis ToolPak check box, and then click OK—a window will appear asking you if you want to install this feature, click on OK. Once the add-in is installed, you can click on Data Analysis.