note: From the top of, you can access this syllabus if you misplace yours, want to explore its links, or see any updates to it.  Syllabus is subject to modification by instructor to meet course needs, especially if there are unexpected disruptions or changes in class size, resources, etc.


Course Number: STAT 5385-001   (CRN 17038)   

Course Title: Statistics in [Mathematics Education] Research  

Credit Hours: 3

Term: Fall 2011

Prerequisite:  Departmental Approval

Course Fee:  none


Course Meetings & Location:  MW 5-6:20pm, except Sept. 5, in Bell 143 (and some meeting time will be held in a lab or library area for hands-on explorations of research tools.  In a major disruption (e.g., H1N1 epidemic, subzero weather), be prepared to maintain course progress via other means (e.g., phone, Elluminate, Internet, a Blackboard course shell, etc.) and check your email (especially your UTEP address) regularly.   


Instructor: 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!  I have served on several national journal editorial and research advisory boards and have published in selective research journals such as Statistics Education Research Journal. More background at 


Office Location:  Bell Hall 213

Contact Info:             Phone:   (915) 747-6845

                        Email  Lesser (at) (include “5385” in the subject line)


Fax: (915) 747-6502 (note: this is a math department fax, so be sure to

have my name clearly on it; be aware that staff are not available to relay faxes to me outside the math dept’s hours of M-F 8-12, 1-5

            Emergency Contact: (915) 747-5761 (during math dept office hours)

Office hours: initial office hours are MW 3-3:30, W 6:25-6:55pm and by appointment;

additional office hours or changes will be announced/posted later; students are also welcome to try stopping by anytime for short questions; for longer questions, students should email me several possible appointment times that would work and I will reply with which option works in my schedule;  


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 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. 


Course Objectives (Learning Outcomes):  Students will….

  • Gain an 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.  
  • Improve critical thinking and conceptual understanding of these methodologies.
  • Learn better how to generate and interpret technology output in the context of reporting the results of mathematics education research, including p-values and effect sizes.
  • Learn how to align methods with research question in mathematics education and to investigate the assumptions of the statistical models.


Course Activities/Assignments:  Students will participate in in-class activities, read assigned articles and chapters, facilitate/participate in discussions, take exam/quizzes, and do homework exercises/projects. The instructor will make clear which assignments or assessments may be done in pairs (or small groups) and which must be done individually.


Assessment of Course Objectives:  Assessments include written reflections, exam, quizzes, class discussions, written research paper, oral presentation of research paper.


Course Schedule:       Census Day: Sept. 7

Deadline to Drop with a “W”:  Oct. 28

Last Regular Class Meeting: Nov. 30 

Final Exam Meeting: as scheduled by UTEP registrar (Mon,

Dec. 5, 4-6:45pm), unless we agree to change it


Grading Policy: after any rescaling needed for all components to be on the 0-100 scale, the grade is 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%):  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

2 – 3U – E points added to it, where U = number of unexcused absences and E = number of excused absences.  This reflects how crucial participation is for a course with “beyond-the-book” discussion, but without penalizing someone with ≤ 2 (excused) absences.

Quizzes:  occasional unannounced quizzes will be taken into account only if your final

    average falls a point below a letter grade cutoff (i.e., they can only help)


Makeup Policy: In general (out of fairness and logistics), late work will not be accepted, and may be subject to a penalty in the rare borderline cases that it is accepted at the instructor’s discretion.   A makeup exam is possible if: (1) it is taken at the earliest opportunity, and (2) missing the exam was unavoidable for a serious reason that is relayed to me (preferably by email) within 24 hours (or the earliest possible opportunity), followed up if necessary by documentation like a doctor’s note.


Attendance Policy:  Attendance is required and here’s why: Much of this course involves beyond-the-book group activities, experiences or discussions that are virtually impossible to recreate or “make up”.  Successful completion of this course is intended not only to imply you have demonstrated sufficient knowledge acquisition, but also that you have been exposed to key processes, modeling, and experiences (which are especially important for teachers and new researchers, for example). Attendance is generally taken each meeting using a sign-in sheet and it’s your responsibility to sign it each day you attend.  Late arrival, early departure, or blatant nonparticipation may be counted as a half-absence or even a full absence, depending on what is missed.

 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 [Oct. 28] and with a grade of “F” after the course drop deadline.”  In practical terms, this means a student is subject to being dropped for 5 or more absences (unless you have given me a reason I have approved). If you choose to withdraw, I ask that you submit the formal paperwork and send me an email to let me know rather than just stop attending class and assume you will be withdrawn automatically.  On a positive note, a strong record of attendance will be taken into account if your final average is a point below a letter grade cutoff.

It’s your responsibility to….

(1) give me a written note or email by the 15th day of the semester [Sept. 12] if you will have absence for religious holy days (which are excused, of course).  

(2) give me an email or written documentation as soon as possible if you anticipate the possibility of missing large parts of class due to exceptional circumstances such as military service/training, childbirth, or competing on official UTEP athletic teams.

(3) 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 serious situation which may affect a test, major assessment deadline, the final exam week meeting, or a large number of “regular” class days.  If you miss a “regular class meeting”, you don’t need to contact me, but you do need to get copies of notes and announcements from a classmate if you miss a class; be sure you have contact information for at least 3 classmates for this purpose


Academic Integrity Policy: It’s UTEP’s policy (and mine) for all suspected violations to be referred to the Dean of Students for investigation and disposition (See Section 1.3.1 of the HOOP ; 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 represents 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).  Cite references that you do consult, using APA style (an edition of the guide is on 2-hour reserve in the UTEP Library) with complete citations even for websites and people you consult.

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, contributed to, and understand 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!


Civility Statement: You are expected to follow basic standards of courtesy (e.g., “Student Conduct” and “Disruptive Acts Policy” in the UTEP Catalog) and may be dismissed from class for blatant or sustained disruptive behavior. Your comments during classroom discussions need to focus constructively and respectfully on the intellectual merit of a position, not critiquing the person expressing it.  You should avoid side conversations when one person (me, or another student) is talking to the whole class. Also, do not engage in phone, email or text conversations during class. Laptops should not be open unless they are being used appropriately for class activities.  (In other words, off-task activities such as texting, Facebook, YouTube, etc., are unacceptable because they distract and disrupt class participation.)  If you truly are expecting an urgent call on your cell phone or pager, please let me know and sit near the door to minimize disruption (and have your phone on vibrate/silent instead of anything loud), and have it handy so you don’t have to dig through a backpack for it). Otherwise, please keep your phone/pager off during class. 


Disability Statement: If you have or believe you have a disability requiring accommoda-tions, you may wish to self-identify by contacting the Disabled Student Services Office (DSSO; 747-5148; East Union Building 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 to make sure I receive any DSSO instructions and accommodation letters.  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. 


Military Statement: Give me an email or written documentation as soon as possible if you anticipate the possibility of missing large parts of class due to military service.



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 83/84+ 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 very simple example: you can’t just say the mean of {3,4,5,5,8} is 5, but need to write (3 + 4 + 5 + 5 + 8)/5 = 5.]  As logistics and interest allow, we’ll include explorations of how statistics are computed with technology such as applets, graphing calculators, spreadsheets, or software such as Minitab. [more info at:]


Professionalism:   Be open to local opportunities for professional growth and sharing.  Encourage K-12 students to make statistics connections while entering the ASA Poster Competitions (by Apr. 1: or science fair. And consider joining (at cheap rates while a student!) organizations at the local (GEPCTM), state (TCTM), or national levels (NCTM or ASA). 


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:



for literature search engines, lists of journals that publish math/statistics education research, getting approval to conduct research, using/accessing technology resources, etc.


2007 “SMER” report:


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 may note that some topics we explore (at a more advanced level) relate to topics in the probability/statistics TEKS (, the NCTM Principles and Standards for School Mathematics (, the GAISE PreK-12 Curriculum Framework (, and foreign language statistics glossaries (e.g., or