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STATISTICAL LITERACY TEXTBOOK:
Schield's Statistical Literacy textbook is being used as the textbook for Math1300 at the University of New Mexico. This text was developed as a key part of the W. M. Keck Statistical Literacy Project.
In 2005, Capella University began offering Statistical Literacy on-line using this textbook. Dr. Valerie Perkins, Dean of Capella's School of Under-graduate Studies, notes, "Schield's approach to statistical literacy helps Capella students think critically while satisfying Capella's general education requirement in mathematical and logical reasoning."
Peter Holmes, Royal Statistical Society Centre for Statistical Education, said, "I am convinced that the standard first course in statistics, which focuses on getting to significance testing and confidence intervals, isn't an appropriate aim for a lot of students. I think Milo's approach to statistical literacy is much closer to what is needed by journalists, by policy makers, by those in business commerce or management and by most people in everyday life."
Statistical Literacy is closely related to numeracy, quantitative reasoning, quantitative literacy and statistical thinking/reasoning. They all focus on concepts or techniques involving numbers in context -- typically numbers presented in the daily news.
But there are differences.
All three are typically quiet on causation, confounding and study design.
Statistical Literacy (consumer-based) is quite different. Statistical Literacy studies statistics used as evidence in everyday arguments. As such this text may be closer to critical thinking or rhetoric than to mathematics or statistics. This text uses the admonition, "Take CARE!" as a reminder that statistics are human constructs. Statistical literacy studies those factors that influence the size and direction of a statistic. Each of the four letters in CARE stand for a kind of influence on the size of a statistic: Context (comparisons, ratios, study design and confounding), Assembly (how statistics are defined and presented), Randomness (chance, margin of error and statistical significance) and Error or bias. The bulk of the book is spent on the first two types of influence.
The goal of the text is to help readers evaluate the strengths and weaknesses in statistics that are used as evidence in everyday arguments. These statistics include government-generated statistics: country-wide statistics (c.f., US Statistical Abstract), education statistics (c.f., National Assessment of Educational Progress) and health statistics (c.f., Center for Disease Control).
This text is quite different. Instead of algebra, it uses ordinary English to describe and compare counts, measures and conditional probabilities. It focuses on reading and interpreting statistics presented in tables and graphs. It presents a simple technique to show how a factor is "taken in account" or "controlled for." It requires "hypothetical thinking" for students to imagine how things might have been defined, measured, compared or presented differently. It requires hypothetical thinking for students to imagine plausible confounders for observed associations.
Schield's "Statistical Literacy 202
0-2021 (very different from prior editions)
CONTENTS For chapter overview, download both audio and 6up overview. Play audio while watching the overview.
Contents: 321 pages, 5,620 paragraphs, 99,412 words. 510,254 characters.
For papers on teaching the social construction of statistics, see:
Statistical Literacy at Augsburg College: GST 200
Over a Hundred Topics (Over a Thousand Problems):
Web-based Part-Whole Drill Programs:
a game of lively discourse
This site was last updated 09/24/22