Herb Weisberg


Milo Schield, Editor

Authors Popular StatLit News Authors-Academic Statistical Literacy Numeracy Statistical Reasoning

Statistical Literacy online course for teachers (no credit):  May 11-June 29. Syllabus, Textbook and Registration

New classroom video:  Statisticians: Making our World a Better Place.  Schield 2015 USCOTS.  4.5 minutes

April 29: Congratulations go to Tyler VanderWeele, winner of the 2015 ASA “Causality in Statistics Education Award” for his book “Explanation in Causal Inference” (Oxford, 2015). The award ceremony will take place at the 2015 JSM conference, August 8-13, in Seattle. Another good news, Google has joined Microsoft in sponsoring next year’s award, so please upgrade your 2016 nominations. For details of nominations and selection criteria, see www.amstat.org/education/causalityprize/.   Source: www.mii.ucla.edu/causality/?m=201504

Aug 4.   "Willful Ignorance" by Herb Weisberg (picture above) is now available!!  [Editor:  This book is my #1 pick for 2014 so far.]   Weisberg's grasp of statistical history is comprehensive without being over-whelming.  But this is more than just a history book on statistics.  Weisberg has a point to make -- that statisticians have mis-measured uncertainty!  And this mis-measurement involves "willful ignorance"!!!   These are fighting words for statisticians who consider the proper measurement of uncertainty to be their primary task.  For more details on Herbert Weisberg, visit his page.    If you buy one statistics book this year, buy this one!  Amazon US

Two Big Ideas for Teaching Big Data: Coincidence and Confounding by Milo Schield. ECOTS invited paper downloaded 4,200 times in the seven months it has been posted in 2014.   See also Schield slides presented at Big Data panel.

"I hope that...statistical literacy will...rise to the top of your advocacy list"  Ruth Carver, ASA 2012 Presidential Address

29% of US Freshman took stats in high school (15% took AP Stats), so 14% took non-AP Stats. 2012 Am. Freshman

Spurious Correlations (More than 9,000 computer-generated as of 5/2014): For example: Number of people who died by becoming tangled in their bed sheets correlates with Total revenue generated by skiing facilities (US).  [Great examples, but a high correlation coefficient between two times series does not imply statistical significance -- much less a causal connection. See Cross-correlation.  Editor]

Highest Monthly Downloads: October had 45,000 downloads from this site: the highest number in our ten-year history. Last year's monthly  high was 26,000 in May.  The biggest cause is the download of the the PowerPoint demos to create various statistics and models using Excel: over 67,000 YTD.  The "Create-Lognormal-Excel2013" demo has had 36,000 downloads so far this year.

Highest Monthly Index Views:  November had over 6,200 views of this page -- 33% more than last year's monthly high of 4,700.

Judea Pearl (above) sponsors ASA Causality in Statistical Education Award. The committee is pleased to announce that a gift from Microsoft Research will enable the prize to double in 2015. A $10,000 prize or two $5,000 prizes will awarded this year. For additional information about the award, see the 2012 announcement, the 2013 winner and the 2014 winner. Nominations and questions should be sent to the ASA office at educinfo@amstat.org. The nomination deadline is February 15, 2015. Visit www.amstat.org/education/causalityprize/ for nomination information.


"Statistical literacy is the ability to read and interpret summary statistics in the everyday media: in graphs, tables, statements, surveys and studies.   Statistical literacy is needed by data consumers – students in non-quantitative majors: majors with no quantitative requirement such as political science, history, English, primary education, communications, music, art and philosophy. About 40% of all US college students graduating in 2003 had non-quantitative majors."    By Milo Schield in "Assessing Statistical Literacy: Take CARE" Ch 11 in Assessment Methods in Statistical Education, pp. 133-152.  Wiley 2010  Schield excerpts

Short introduction to Statistical Literacy.  For more on confounding, see Standardizing.

UK Parliament Briefing paper on Statistical Literacy

Statistical literacy: "the ability to read and interpret statistics, and think critically about arguments that use statistics as evidence"  United Nations Development Dictionary (move slider to "s") [link broken/missing in 2012]

Statistical literacy: "understanding the basic language of statistics (e.g., knowing what statistical terms and symbols mean and being able to read statistical graphs), and understanding some fundamental ideas of statistics." GAISE College Report 


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Yearly highlights of grants, new books, conference papers (ICOTS, ISI, JSM, JMM), and events involving statistical literacy. 


Newest StatLit.org web pages: 


If you read just one article, read Challenging the state of the art in post-introductory statistics by Tintle, Chance, Cobb, Rossman, Roy, Swanson and VanderStoep. 


"By introducing confounding as 'one of the two major themes in statistical analysis' this paper is arguably the most important paper in statistical education since 2002 when Howard Wainer publicized 'The BK-Plot: Making Simpsons' Paradox Clear to the Masses'.  The Wainer and Tintle papers mark a new beginning of statistics education for the 21st century."  Milo Schield, StatLit Editor



01  Challenge Statistical Claims in Media, Martinez-Dawson ASA 2013

2015 SLIDES and WORKSHEETS HOSTED (by month)

07  2013 MSMESB: MS Business Analytics program.  Nargundkar.    slides



12  AMSTAT: Causality in Statistics Education Award 2013. ASA News

12  Most stat analysis not done by statisticians Simply Statistics 2013

12  Simpson's Paradox in Psychological Science by Kievit et al. 2013.

12  Statistical Literacy Explained by Hewson, Teaching Statistics, 2013

12  Headlines in a Math-Literate World by Orlin, Huffington Post, 2013

12  RSS GetStats Statistical Literacy Campaign and Initiatives. 2014

12  SIGMAA-QL 2013 Newsletter.   Bennet: Writing for general public.

11  Call for Statistical Literacy papers. 2014 Stat-Ed Research Jrnl.

11  Relative Risk Cutoffs for Statistical Significance. Schield 2014

10  SRTL-9 Proposal: Informal Doorways to Modeling. Schield  2014

09  Limitations and Uses of Convenience Samples Kriska et al. ASA 2013

09  Seeing how Statistical Significance is Contextual.  Schield 2003.

08  Simpson's Paradox #30 Classic Problems in Probability. Gorroochurn

08  Simon Schild Maps: Bellenberg Germany & Benton County IA. 2014

08  Schild Family journey from Bellenberg Germany to America. 2002

07  2013 MSMESB/DSI Annual Report by Robert Andrews

07  Odyssey: Lifelong Statistical Literacy Schield 2014 ICOTS  slides
05  Two Big Ideas for Teaching Big Data  Schield ECOTS 2014  slides

04  Teaching Big Data at Georgetown. Sigman et al. Decision Line 2014

03  Augsburg TIDES Proposal: Summary AACU Schield 2014 Full proposal

02  Augsburg's NSF Proposal: Summary.  Schield 2014 Full

01  Visualization of Economic Indicators. Thompson+Wallace. ASA 2013.

01  Fusion & causal analysis in big marketing data.  Mandel ASA 2013

01  Check Distributional Assumption: Benford’s Law. Goodman  ASA 2013

01  Challenge Statistical Claims in Media, Martinez-Dawson ASA 2013

2014 SLIDES and WORKSHEETS HOSTED (by month)

11  Business Analytics and Data Science. Schield DSI 2014 slides

10  Statistical Literacy+Coincidence. Schield NNN1 Workshop 2014 slides
10  Explore Log-Normal Incomes Schield NNN2 2014 Slides xls  Update

10  Creating Distributions Empirically. M. Schield. NNN3 Workshop Slides

10  Statistically-Significant Correlations. Milo Schield. NNN4 2014 Slides

10  Segmented Linear Regression. Schield. NNN5 Workshop 2014 Slides

08  Top 30 Learning Goals for Introductory Sociology. Persell  2010  List

08  Social Science Reasoning & QL Learning Goals Caulfield+Persell'06List

07  2013 MSMESB: Predictive Analytics course. Levine et al.         slides

07  2013 MSMESB: Spreadsheet Analytics. James R. Evans.          slides

07  2013 MSMESB: Implications of Big Data for Stat Ed. Berenson.  slides

07  2013 MSMESB: Big Data & Statistics Instruction. Berenson      slides

07  2013 MSMESB: Big Data in Stat 101: Small changes. McKenzie slides

07  2013 MSMESB: Create Business Analytics class. Kirk Karawan.  slides

07  2013 MSMESB: Getting Analytics into the curriculum. Karawan. slides

07  2013 MSMESB: Analytics and the Evolving Workforce. LaBarr.   slides

07  2013 MSMESB: MS Business Analytics program.  Nargundkar.    slides


Top 20 Downloads of Papers (or slides if no paper):
7,860 Percentage Graphs in USA Today Schield 2006 ASA. Total 100,052
7,043 Responsible Stats...to Shape Public Opinion by A Nelson 6up 2011
4,602 Two Big Ideas for Teaching Big Data Schield 2014 ECOTS [**May]
3,769 Framework for Interpreting Tables & Graphs  Kemp & Kissane 2010
3,172 Statistical Literacy in Adult College Students B. Wade 2009 Thesis
2,891 Quantitative Scholarship: From Literacy to Mastery U.Texas 2009
2,696 Statistical Literacy: A New Mission for Data Producers Schield '11
2,625 Interpreting the Cumulative Frequency Distribution Winkler 2009
2,613 Check Distributional Assumption: “Benford’s Law”  Goodman 2013
2,596 Likert & Visual Analog Scales Tom Knapp 2013
2,578 Presenting Confounding Graphically via Standardization Schield '06
Practical Approach to Intro Poli-Sci Statistics Course Klass 2004
2,173 To Pool or Not to Pool by Tom Knapp 2013
1,503 Statistical Literacy Guide.  Bolton, UK  2009
1,466 Teaching Statistical Literacy by Haack 1978, Teaching Statistics

1,289 Statistical Literacy Curriculum Design.  Schield, 2004 IASE Sweden
1,138 The Undetectable Difference: The “Problem” of p-Values. Goodman 
1,055 Developing a Test of Normality in the Classroom Jernigan 2012 ASA
1,054 Substantive significance of regression coefficients. Miller 2008 ASA
   991 Assessing Students’ Attitudes by Millar & Schau  2010 ASA.

Top Downloads of Excel-Related Slides (All by Schield)

1   37,203 Create lognormal in Excel 2013. 6up 1up Demo

2.    7,278 Model Logistic Regression using Excel 2013. 6up 1up

3.    6,117 Using the Z-test function in Excel 2008   6up 1up

4.    4,008 COUNTIF histograms: Excel 2013 6up 1up demo

5.    3,905 Confidence intervals with Excel 2010   Slides   Demo Output

6.    2,577 T-Test command with Excel 2013   6up 1up

7.    2,475 Trendline 2Y1X with different scales.   6up  1up

8.    1,900 Create Pivot Tables using Excel 2008  6up 1up

9.     1,563 Using the T-Test function in Excel 2008.   6up 1up

10       508 Regress 3 Factor using Linear Trendline in Excel 2013   6up 1up

11       466 Create lognormal distribution with Excel 2008.   6up  1up  Output

12       273 Model using Linear Trendline in Excel 2013. 6up 1up


















  1. Percentage Graphs in USA Today. Milo Schield 2006 ASA Proceedings. 

  2. Statistical Literacy: Uses & Abuses of Numbers by Andrew Nelson 6up 

  3. Presenting Confounding Graphically Using Standardization by Milo Schield. 2006 STATS magazine. 

  4. Statistical Literacy: A New Mission for Data Producers by Milo Schield.  2011 SJIAOS

  5. Univ. Texas San Antonio: Quantitative Scholarship - Final Draft    Press release 2009

  6. Statistics for Political Science Majors. Gary Klass 2004 ASA


  • Victor Cohn (1989), News and Numbers

  • Darrell Huff (1954), How To Lie with Statistics

  • Edward Tufte (1995), Visual Explanations




S/L Books

Q/L Books


Q/L Texts



W. M. Keck Statistical Literacy Project

Web-accessible articles presenting a general background or overview.

Statistical Literacy:


Quantitative Literacy:

Thirteen articles involving the W. M. Keck Statistical Literacy Project:


  •  Making Sense of Statistics by Nigel Hawkes and Leonor Sierra. Section 1: If a statistic is the answer, what was the question?  Section 2: Common pitfalls.  Section 3: How sure are we?  Section 4: Percentages and risk; knowing the absolute and relative changes.  


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  • 2015 Jan 28:  Bob Hayden's Review of Presenting Data.

  • 2014 Dec 23:  Bob Hogg: A Statistical Giant.   RIP.

  • 2014 Nov 13:  Meet Common Core Standards with Statistics.  Posted by Jeff Wyman on November 13th, 2014.  Copy

  • 2014 May 21:  Two Big Ideas for Teaching Big Data: Coincidence and Confounding by Milo Schield. ECOTS invited paper.  This paper was downloaded over 850 times in the first 10 days after being posted (over 4,000 times in May-Nov 2014).   See also Schield slides presented at Big Data panel.

  • 2015 April.  DSJIE (Decision Science Journal of Innovative Education) is soliciting submissions for two special issues.  Rethinking Undergraduate Business Education: In the Classroom and Beyond (Call: submission deadline June 1, 2014).  Educational Innovation and Reform in the Decision Sciences Using Multidisciplinary and Collaborative Practices (Call: submission deadline August 1, 2014). 

  • 2014 April. Willful Ignorance: The Mismeasure of Uncertainty by Herbert Weisberg.  To be available in July from Amazon.

  • 2014 Feb 28. Improving [NZ] journalists’ statistical literacy via a new unit standard

  • 2014 Feb 16.  Misconceptions of science and religion found in new study   • Nearly 60 percent of evangelical Protestants and 38 percent of all surveyed believe “scientists should be open to considering miracles in their theories or explanations.” • 27 percent of Americans feel that science and religion are in conflict. • Of those who feel science and religion are in conflict, 52 percent sided with religion. • 48 percent of evangelicals believe that science and religion can work in collaboration. • 22 percent of scientists think most religious people are hostile to science. •Nearly 20 percent of the general population think religious people are hostile to science. • Nearly 22 percent of the general population think scientists are hostile to religion. • Nearly 36 percent of scientists have no doubt about God’s existence.

  • 2014 Jan Teaching Big Data: Experiences, Lessons Learned, and Future Directions by by Betsy Page Sigman, William Garr, Robert Pongsajapan, Marie Selvanadin, Kristin Bolling, Greg Marsh, Georgetown University.  DSI p 9-15.

  • 2014: Jan 31. Texas drops Algebra II requirement; offers statistics and algebraic reasoning as alternatives.   The Texas Board of Education adopted two new math courses on Thursday that are designed to cover much of the same material offered in algebra II, which will no longer be required for high school students under the Legislature's academic curriculum overhaul.  The board voted ... to create two high-level math courses that could be alternatives: statistics and algebraic reasoning. Both will be developed by local schools under the guidance of the Texas Education Agency, and are designed to cover many of the same concepts covered in algebra II.

  • 2014: Jan 27 issue,  Woman's World magazine cover: "Breakthrough new study: This lifesaving diet lowers yours obesity risk 300%."   Page 19: "A new study found folks who eat vegan are 300% less likely to ever become obese.  That's triple protection against obesity for life!"  

IMS             UPCOMING PROFESSIONAL EVENTS             Statistics

  • 2015: Jan 10-13. 2015 Joint Mathematics Meetings.  San Antonio, TX. Deadlines. Abstracts for All Speakers. 
    Selected contributed paper themes:
    *  Best Practices for Teaching the Introductory Statistics Course
    organized by Randall Pruim, Scott Alberts and Patti Frazer Lock.
    *  Statistics Education beyond the Introductory Statistics Course organized by Randall Pruim, Scott Alberts and Patti Frazer Lock.  
    *  Infusing QL into Mathematics and Nonmathematics Courses
    organized by Andrew Miller, Aaron Montgomery and Gary Franchy.
    Abstract submissions.   Details

  • 2015: Feb 1.  USCOTS 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award Nominations "The Consortium for the Advancement of Undergraduate Statistics Education (CAUSE) is now accepting nominations for the 2015 USCOTS Lifetime Achievement Award in statistics education. This biennial award is presented at the U.S. Conference On Teaching Statistics to an individual who, over an extended period of time, has made lasting contributions with broad impact to the field of statistics education especially, but not limited to, the teaching and learning of college-level statistics.  A nomination packet (maximum 10 pages) should include a nomination letter of up to 3 pages signed by three nominators stating why the individual is deserving of the award and up to 7 pages of supporting testimony/e-mails from others."

  • 2015: Feb 1.  USCOTS 2015 Call for Poster Proposals "We are calling for proposals for the Posters and Beyond (P&B) session for USCOTS 2015 (United States Conference On Teaching Statistics) which will be held May 28-30, 2015 in State College, Pennsylvania. The P&B session provides an opportunity for conference participants to display a poster of their ideas or provide a small demonstration of their favorite examples, activities, and teaching methods. Due to limited space, the P&B will be limited to approximately 70 presenters. Abstracts for posters or demonstrations in the USCOTS Posters and Beyond session submitted before Sunday, February 1, 2015 at 11:59pm will receive feedback from the session organizers by Wednesday, March 4, 2015. Final abstracts should be submitted by Wednesday, April 1, 2015 at 11:59pm. Abstracts submitted between February 1 and April 1 will be considered for selection, but will not receive feedback from the session organizers. Posters and Beyond is a peer-reviewed opportunity at USCOTS, thus the P&B team will make decisions about inclusion in the program. All P&B applicants will be notified whether they were selected by Friday, April 17, 2015. Abstracts will be submitted through the USCOTS registration system, which will open soon."  Iddo Gal, IASE President.

  • 2015: Feb 15.  Nominations due for 2015 Judea Pearl Causality Award.  Submissions should include a cover letter that provides information about the nominee, type of material suggested as an important contribution, the intended audience, and an abstract of why the material is nominated, along with the nominated work. Submissions and questions should be sent to the ASA office at educinfo@amstat.org.

  • 2015 Mar 10.  Updating the curriculum of an introductory statistical literacy course for the modern student with Ellen Gundlach, Purdue University 2:00 to 2:30p.m. Eastern time, Tuesday March 10th, 2015 (note special time) Teaching & Learning Series Webinar. Abstract: Strategies for including important (and sometimes controversial), modern issues from society into an introductory statistical literacy course for liberal arts students will be discussed, including several projects which have been successfully used for 500 students split between large-lecture traditional, fully online, and flipped sections. Topics include advertisement analysis, big data, ethics, social media article discussions, and a service learning project. These new topics and projects capture student interest and show them how relevant statistical literacy is to their daily lives.   To register for this webinar please visit: www.causeweb.org/webinar/teaching/2015-03/index.php    Ellen Grundlach page at www.stat.purdue.edu/people/faculty/gundlach

    "Using Calibrated Peer Review in Statistics and Biology: A Coordinated Statistical Literacy Project' with Ellen Gundlach & Nancy Pelaez, Purdue University 2:00 to 2:30 pm Eastern time, October 13th, 2009 Ellen and Nancy use Calibrated Peer Review, an online writing and peer evaluation program available from UCLA, to introduce statistical literacy to Nancy's freshman biology students and to bring a real-world context to statistical concepts for Ellen's introductory statistics classes in an NSF-funded project. CPR allows instructors in large classes to give their students frequent writing assignments without a heavy grading burden. Ellen and Nancy have their students read research journal articles on interesting subjects and use guiding questions to evaluate these articles for statistical content, experimental design features, and ethical concerns. https://www.causeweb.org/webinar/teaching/2009-10/       CPR at http://cpr.molsci.ucla.edu/Home.aspx

  • 2015: Feb 28.   Statistics Education Research Journal (SERJ) call for papers on the topic of 'Research on Statistical Literacy'.  Guest editors are Jim Ridgeway and James Nicholson, and SERJ co-editor Maxine Pfannkuch. Interested authors should send a letter of intent by February 28, 2015, but preferably earlier, consisting of a 150-250 word abstract describing key aspects of the paper.  Manuscripts for this special issue will be limited to a maximum of 7500 words of body text and authors are encouraged to aim for 4000-6000 words of body text (not counting abstract, tables and graphs, references, appendices).  Copy

  • 2015 May 28-30.  USCOTS 2015.  The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel State College, Pennsylvania "Making Connections"  Calendar, Plenary speakers and workshops.    Opening session: What's wrong with Stat 101.  Allan Rossman describes the course. Dick De Veaux and George Cobb diagnosis the ills and suggest some cures.  Short responses by each of six discussants: Amy Wagaman, Jeff Witmer, Jessica Utts, Milo Schield, Nathan Tintle, Webster West.

  • 2015: June 15. The Taming of Chance Story Competition.  Sponsored by The Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences in partnership with the American Statistical Association).  This competition "seeks to answer a critical question at the center of how statistics is (or is not) relevant to our everyday lives. Answering the question "What our world be like if the normal curve had never been discovered", statistics educators and students are invited to tell a story which makes the subject resonate with a general audience who increasingly have a need to be quantitatively literate.  The competition judges will be awarding the $2000 grand prize in June of 2015, and to further encourage participation by younger students, an additional $1500 prize is reserved for entries from students under the age of 26. 
    Submission deadline, June 15 2015." For more information, please see the competition website: tamingofchance.vretta.com

  • 2015 June 22-23.  Statistical Literacy conference (Turning Data into Knowledge) in Lisbon Portugal. "Currently, statistics education takes place in a new social and cultural context and faces a global challenge of meeting the calls for statistically literate and informed citizens who are able to turn data into knowledge. Such a challenge provides new opportunities to rethink both what statistics we teach and how we teach statistics. Doing so is imperative in order to develop students’ ability to reason about data and to use them effective and critically, in their daily life, for prediction and decision-making."  "Two strands have been defined: A. Statistical literacy and B. Statistical reasoning." Invited speakers are Dani Ben-Zvi and Janet Ainley.


QL = Q/L = Quantitative Literacy,   QR = Q/R = Quantitative Reasoning,    S/L = SL = Statistical Literacy,     S/R = SR = Statistical Reasoning

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