Subject: Re: How Should We *Motivate* Students in Intro Stat? To: edstat-l@jse.stat.ncsu.edu sci.stat.edu Usenet newsgroup From: Donald Macnaughton <donmac@matstat.com> (formerly donmac@hookup.net) Date: Wednesday December 18, 1996 21:14 EDT Cc: Dennis Roberts <dmr@email.psu.edu>

On December 17, 1996, Dennis Roberts wrote > i was not implying that there is 0 accuracy ... it is just when > a term like "accurate" is bandied about ... one gets the im- > pression that the error is relatively small. but .. for most > predictors and criteria ... when predicting human behavior var- > iables ... the errors variance is normally greater ... many > times MUCH greater ... than the predictable variance. that's > ALL i meant ... Dennis makes an important point: When we show students how the field of statistics helps researchers to make "accurate" predic- tions, we must explain what we mean by the word "accurate". We must also inform students that statistical methods can usually provide us with an estimate of the size of the *errors* in the predictions that (on the basis of the available research data) the procedure will make. (Furthermore, as is well known, we must explain to students the concept of the *underlying assumptions* of statistical procedures because an estimate of size of the prediction errors will be re- liable only if the underlying assumptions of the associated sta- tistical procedure are adequately satisfied.) I give an approach to discussing these matters with students in a paper for students (1996, sections 11.2, 9.4, 9.10, and 11.4). Don Macnaughton REFERENCE Macnaughton, D. B. (1996), "The Entity-Property-Relationship Ap- proach to Statistics: An Introduction for Students." Avail- able at http://www.matstat.com/teach/

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