Sunday, November 27, 2011

Catalysts for Change Published in SERJ!

The Statistics Education Research Journal (SERJ) has published the paper, Publishing in SERJ: An Analysis of Papers from 2002–2009. The paper was written by Catalysts for Change Andrew Zieffler, Joan Garfield, Robert DelMas, Laura Le, Rebekah Isaak, Audbjorg Bjornsdottir and Jiyoon Park. [Access the paper here.]

SERJ has provided a high quality professional publication venue for researchers in statistics education for close to a decade. This paper presents a review of the articles published to explore what they suggest about the field of statistics education, the researchers, the questions addressed, and the growing knowledge base on teaching and learning statistics. We present a detailed analysis of these articles in order to address the following questions: What is being published and why, who is publishing research in SERJ, how is the research being carried out, and what do the results suggest about future research?

Andrew Zieffler at the Deming Conference and University of Maryland!

On December 2, Andrew Zieffler will visit the University of Maryland and he will be presenting at the EDMS Measurement & Statistics Monday Symposia (MSMS). His talk will highlight a few of the computational tools, techniques and standards that research methodologists and data analysts would be well served to be familiar with including LaTeX, Sweave, XML, SQL, regular expressions, and data visualization tools. [Abstract for Andrew's talk.]

Dr. Andrew Zieffler and his old friends.
Andrew Zieffler's next presentation will be together with Jeffrey Harring at The 67th Deming Conference on Applied Statistics. They will do a workshop on randomization and bootstrap methods for making group comparisons. 

Topics of the workshop:
- Exploratory Data Analysis using Kernel Density Plots
- Randomization and Bootstrap tests
- Effect Sizes and Bootstrap Intervals

Thursday, November 17, 2011

CATALST's colleagues update!

A great article about a fellow Catalyst for Change, Chris Franklin was posted on Columns (The Online Newspaper For The University of Georgia Community)!
The article can be seen at:

Robert Gould has a newly published book: "INTRODUCTORY STATISTICS -  Exploring the World through Data."
Book details on

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Statistics Education Seminar presented by Xiao-Li Meng!

Xiao-Li Meng (Department of Statistics, Harvard University) gave a talk last Friday, October 28, at the QME Colloquia Series at the University of Minnesota.

Professor Meng and his "Happy Team" on the opening day of Stat 105.
Cassandra Wolos, Kari Lock, Xiao-Li Meng, Yves Chretien, and Paul Edlefsen.
Photo by Rose Lincoln/Harvard News Office.

Title: Statistical Education and Educating Statisticians: Producing Wine Connoisseurs and Master Winemakers

Abstract: The distinction between statistical education and educating statisticians is of particular importance at the pre-graduate school level. In recent years we have taken a broader view of statistical education for Harvard’s undergraduates, by shifting the focus  from preparing a few to pursue Ph.D. level quantitative studies to helping many  gain a basic appreciation of statistical argument and insight,  as a part of their liberal arts critical thinking training and experience.  Intriguingly, the journey, guided by the philosophy that one can become a wine connoisseur without ever knowing how to make wine, apparently has led us to produce many more future winemakers than when we focused only on producing a vintage.  At the Ph.D. level, our focus has always been to produce the best winemakers, to take the wine analogy further, but true expert winemakers need to master far more than merely the chemical process of fermenting juice into alcohol, especially with ever increasing competition and demand.  We therefore introduced a Professional Development Curriculum (PDC) parallel to the usual course curriculum, starting  from “Stat 303: The Art and Practice of Teaching Statistics,” a required one-year course for all entering Ph.D.s, aiming at both producing well trained teaching fellows for undergraduate courses and effective statistical communicators in general.  This talk shares a number of stories from our intoxicating journey and experiments, including a Riesling randomized trial conducted for Stat 105: Real-Life Statistics: Your Chance for Happiness (or Misery) to assess the single most influential  factor in students’ ability to judge wine quality (once they are over 21).


Catalysts for Change to Host SRTL-8 in 2013!

The International Research Forum on Statistical Reasoning, Thinking, and Literacy 2011 (SRTL-7) included SEVEN members of the CATALST Team! Joan, Bob, Andy, Rob, Herle, Jen and Aaron. The next SRTL (2013) will be hosted by the CATALST team here in Minnesota!  

Statistics Education educators and researchers playing in the sand.
SRTL-7 was described shortly in IASE Matters:

From 17 to 23 July 2011, the seventh biennial Forum of the International Collaboration for Research on Statistical Reasoning, Thinking and Literacy (SRTL-7) took place on Texel Island in The Netherlands. The Freudenthal Institute for Science and Mathematics Education of the Utrecht University hosted this SRTL-7. During the Forum, a small group of worldwide Statistics Education educators and researchers presented and discussed research on the theme: “New approaches to developing reasoning about samples and sampling in informal statistical inference”.

The Forum was structured with long presentations (90 min.), short presentations (30 min.), and whole and small group discussions, organized by thematic clusters focusing on Primary school, Middle school, Secondary education, Tertiary education, and Teacher education.

Inspired and exhausted by the intensive scientific and social programs, the participants went home full of new ideas. Like in previous SRTL forums, joint publications (an edited book and a journal special issue) are planned to publish the results of SRTL-7.

For more information, visit