Mathematics & Computer Science Tests New Text

Karl BeresThe Department of Mathematics and Computer Science is class-testing a new statistics textbook, Introduction to Statistical Investigations by Tintle et al, which teaches new techniques of randomization. “Randomization, in this context,” said Karl Beres, professor of math and computer science, “means answering statistical questions by using computer simulations, rather than abstract mathematical formulas.” Beres is serving as the liaison between the instructors at Ripon College and the textbook’s publisher and authors.

All three sections of Elementary Statistics are using the new text; one section is being co-taught by Beres and Michele Wittler, associate dean of faculty, registrar and adjunct assistant professor of mathematics, and two sections are being taught by Instructor Chester Ismay.

Beres learned about the randomization techniques explored in the text while he was attending a workshop last summer hosted by the Mathematical Association of America and was then offered the opportunity to be a class-tester.

As part of the text-testing process, Beres said students have taken pre-course surveys and will be surveyed again at the conclusion of the semester. “The authors provide some test questions they would like us to use during the semester,” said Beres. Beres will share data on how the classes performed on those tests. In addition, said Beres, “There is a blog that class-testers and the authors participate in, that allows all sorts of questions and discussions of how things are going.”

The book, to be published by Wiley, has provided complimentary loose-leaf copies of the text to the Ripon College students.

Beres said, “To paraphrase George Cobb, a prominent statistician involved in the project: ‘Before computers statisticians had no choice but to use the traditional, theoretical methods. These days there is no excuse for not using randomization.’”


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