Colorado State University — Pueblo, Spring 2015
Math 156, Introduction to Statistics, Section 3

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Here is a shortcut to the summary table below of components of the grades for this course.

Lectures: MWF 12-12:50pm in PM 106      Office Hours: M1-1:50pm and T$\Theta$ 12-1:50pm, or by appointment

Instructor: Jonathan Poritz     Office: PM 248     E-mail:
Phone: 549-2044 (office — any time); 357-MATH (personal; please use sparingly)

Text: The Basic Practice of Statistics, 6th ed., by Moore, Notz, and Fligner.

Prerequisites: Satisfactory placement exam score or Math 099 or equivalent.

Postrequisites: This course is one of the six classes which satisfy the Quantitative Reasoning Skill of the General Education Requirement. It is also required for the AIM major, the Biology major, the CM program, the Nursing major, and the Mass Communication BS degree, is one required option for the Chemistry major, the Liberal Studies program, and the Social Work program, a prerequisite for MATH 362, MATH 550, and NSG 351, and is one required option for several other classes. Actually, one could argue that a course like this is a requirement for any educated person to understand the modern world.

Course Content/Objective: The Catalog describes it as:

Introduction to data analysis. Binomial and normal models. Sample statistics, confidence intervals, hypothesis tests, linear regression and correlation, and chisquare tests.
In practice, we tend not to get all the way to the $\chi^2$ test. A more precise list of what you will know about by the end of this class is:
  1. Describing data and distributions
  2. Relationships in data
  3. producing data
  4. probability
  5. confidence intervals (for means with known and unknown population standard deviation)
  6. hypothesis testing (tests of significance; for means with known and unknown population standard deviation)

Calculator: A calculator is necessary throughout this course, often in class and when doing homework, always on quizzes and during tests. The calculator you use must be capable of performing basic scientific computations (including logarithms, exponentials and factorials), doing simple plots, and computing standard simple statistical functions of small data sets. Essentially any Texas Instruments calculator from the TI-83 up will suffice; the instructor will use a TI-84 Plus.

The Mathematics Department does have a TI-84 Plus calculator rental program, with rental of a limited number of calculators available on a first come, first serve basis for a non-refundable fee of $20 per semester payable at the Bursar's window in the Administration Building. For more information, contact Prof. Tammy Watkins in the Math Learning Center (PM 132).

Attendance and workload: Regular attendance in class is a key to success — don't skip class, don't be late. But more than merely attending, you are also expected to be engaged with the material in the class. In order for this to be possible, it is necessary to be current with required outside activities such as reading textbook sections and doing homework problems: you are expected to spend 2-3 hours per hour of class on this outside work. This is not an exaggeration (or a joke!), but if you put in the time and generally approach the class with some seriousness you will get quite a bit out of it (certainly including the grade you need).

If you absolutely have to miss a class, please inform me in advance and I will video the class and post the video on the 'net. You should e-mail me no earlier than a few hours after class (to allow for upload time) asking for the link to that video, and you can then watch the class you missed in the comfort of you home and (hopefully) not fall behind. Classes I have videoed will have the icon Black and white camera icon next to that day's entry on the schedule/homework page to remind you of the available video. Even if you are not the one who originally requested the video, you may want to watch it (as part of reviewing for a test, maybe) — but you have to e-mail me for the links as the videos cannot simply be found by a search on YouTube.

Homework: Mathematics at this level is a kind of practical (although purely mental) skill, not unlike a musical or sports skill — and, like for those other skills, one must practice to build the skill. In short, doing problems is the only way truly to master this material (in fact, it is the only way to pass this course).

There will be roughly weekly homework sets assigned and collected. Here are some details:

Quizzes: Most Fridays, during weeks in which there is no hour exam, there will be a short (10-15 minute) quiz at the end of class. These may or may not be open book or notes, but calculators will (usually) be allowed. The quizzes are intended to encourage reading the textbook and classroom discussion about the "real meaning" of some technique we have learned. Quizzes are each graded out of 10 points, and your lowest quiz score will be dropped.

Applied Statistical Exegeses [ASEs]: You will write six or seven 1-2 page explanations of statistical results whose description you find on a website, in an article you read for pleasure or for your studies, in a textbook from another class, or other source you find on your own (after consultation with your instructor). The idea for these write-ups will be to take information of a statistical nature you find elsewhere and to explain it in detail using the terminology and methods of this class — and then to think about it critically and to see if you can offer suggestions for how it might be improved. More information about these ASEs will follow soon.

Exams: We will have three midterm exams on dates to be determined (and announced at least a week in advance). Our final exam is scheduled for Tuesday, April 28th 10:30am-12:50pm in our usual classroom.

Revision of work on homework, quizzes, ASEs, and tests: A great learning opportunity is often missed by students who get back a piece of work graded by their instructor and simply shrug their shoulders and move on — often depositing their graded work in a trash can without even looking at it! In fact, painful though it may be, looking over the mistakes on those returned papers is often the best way to figure out exactly where you tend to make mistakes. If you correct that work, taking the time to make sure you really understand completely what was missing or incorrect, you will often truly master the technique in question, and never again make any similar mistake.

In order to encourage students to go through this learning experience, I will allow students to hand in revised solutions to all homeworks, quizzes, ASEs, and midterms. There will be an expectation of slightly higher quality of exposition (more clear and complete explanations, all details shown, etc.) but you will be able to earn a percentage of the points you originally lost, so long as you hand in the revised work at the very next class meeting. The percentage you can earn back is given in the "revision %" column of the table below.

Grades: On quiz or exam days, attendance is required — if you miss a quiz or exam, you will get a zero as score; you will be able to replace that zero only if you are regularly attending class and have informed me, in advance, of your valid reason for missing that day.

In each grading category, the lowest n scores of that type will be dropped, where n is the value in the "# dropped" column. The total remaining points will be multiplied by a normalizing factor so as to make the maximum possible be 100. Then the different categories will be combined, each weighted by the "course %" from the following table, to compute your total course points out of 100. Your letter grade will then be computed in a manner not more strict than the traditional "90-100% is an A, 80-90% a B, etc." method. [Note that the math department does not give "+"s or "-"s.]

  pts each # of such # dropped revision % course %
Homework: 5/prob ≈75 probs 7 probs 75% 18%
Quizzes: 10 ≈10 1 50% 13%
ASEs: 10 ≈7 0 50% 11%
Midterms: >100 3 0 33.33% 40%
Final Exam: >200 1 0 0% 18%

Contact outside class: Over the years I have been teaching, I have noticed that the students who come to see me outside class are very often the ones who do well in my classes. Now correlation is not causation, but why not put yourself in the right statistical group and drop in sometime? I am always in my office, PM 248, during official office hours. If you want to talk to me privately and/or cannot make those times, please mention it to me in class or by e-mail, and we can find another time. Please feel free to contact me for help also by e-mail at, to which I will try to respond quite quickly (usually within the day, often much more quickly); be aware, however, that it is hard to do complex mathematics by e-mail, so if the issue you raise in an e-mail is too hard for me to answer in that form, it may well be better if we meet before the next class, or even talk on the telephone (in which case, include in your e-mail a number where I can reach you).

A request about e-mail: E-mail is a great way to keep in touch with me, but since I tell all my students that, I get a lot of e-mail. So to help me stay organized, please put your full name and the course name or number in the subject line of all messages to me. Also, if you are writing me for help on a particular problem, please do not assume I have my book, it is often not available to me when I am answering e-mail; therefore, you should give me enough information about the problem so that I can actually help you solve it (i.e., "How do you do problem number n on page p" is often not a question I will be able to answer).

Academic integrity: Mathematics is more effectively and easily learned — and more fun — when you work in groups. However, all work you turn in must be your own, and any form of cheating is grounds for an immediate F in the course for all involved parties. Please do not use a cell phone during class. You may not use a cell phone or share a calculator with another student during a test.

Nota bene: Most rules on due dates, admissibility of make-up work, etc., will be interpreted with great flexibility for students who are otherwise in good standing (i.e., regular classroom attendance, homework (nearly) all turned in on time, no missing quizzes and tests, etc.) when they experience temporary emergency situations. Please speak to me — the earlier the better — in person should this be necessary for you.

Words: One warning up front: I believe strongly that students should learn to think in the way of a subject they are learning, not merely that they become sophisticated calculators who can follow recipes. Therefore I will require you to explain all your work on HWs and tests and on the final. This doesn't mean that you have to write essay answers to purely computational questions, but it does mean that you have to tell me a word of two about what you are thinking as you do the calculations. In particular, you could hand in an answer to some problem with just a few numbers, all of which were correct — and get a 0; you could also hand in an answer with a few words explaining your numbers and get full credit, even if all of the numbers were actually wrong. I will try to give you feedback on HWs and in class on this requirement during the term, so that it does not come as a surprise during tests.

Tutoring Help: The Math Learning Center offers registered CSU-Pueblo students free tutoring in math classes from Elementary Algebra to Calculus and Statistics. It is staffed by a Director and student tutors. Located in the Physics and Mathematics building, PM 132, it is open this semester from January 12th until May 1st, 2014. No appointment is necessary, just walk in and ask for help. The hours of operation are posted in the Math Learning Center and 8:30am-5:00pm Monday to Thursday and 8:30am-3:00pm on Friday.

The PROPEL Center @ CSU-P offers FREE walk-in, one-on-one and online tutoring in addition to mentoring, supplemental instruction sessions, study groups and Summer Academic Forgiveness Education (SAFE) courses with the aim of addressing the individual needs of students pursuing a STEM degree and/or taking STEM courses (Biology, Chemistry, Engineering, Physics, Civil Engineering Technology). The PROPEL Center (Life Science Room 122; 719-549-2652) is open Monday-Friday 9am-4pm.

Students with disabilities: The University abides by the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which stipulate that no student shall be denied the benefits of education "solely by reason of a handicap." If you have a documented disability that may impact your work in this class for which you may require accommodations, please see the Disability Resource Coordinator as soon as possible to arrange accommodations. In order to receive accommodations, you must be registered with and provide documentation of your disability to: the Disability Resource Office, which is located in the Library and Academic Resources Center, Suite 169.


There are three types of lies - lies, damn lies, and statistics.
Benjamin Disraeli (1804 - 1881)

It is easy to lie with statistics, but it is easier to lie without them.
Frederick Mosteller (1916 - 2006 )

The plural of anecdote is not data.
Roger Brinner

Forecasting is very difficult, especially about the future.
Edgar R. Fiedler (1929 - 2003)

Statistical thinking will one day be as necessary for efficient citizenship as the ability to read and write!
Samuel S. Wilks (1906 - 1964), paraphrasing Herbert G. Wells (1866 - 1946)

Luck is probability taken personally. It is the excitement of bad math.
Penn F. Jillette (1955 - )

The only statistics you can trust are those you falsified yourself.
Sir Winston Churchill (1874 - 1965) (Attribution to Churchill is ironically falsified)

Thirty years ago I was diagnosed with motor neurone disease, and given two and a half years to live.
I have always wondered how they could be so precise about the half.
Stephen Hawking (1942 - )

It is commonly believed that anyone who tabulates numbers is a statistician.
This is like believing that anyone who owns a scapel is a surgeon.
Robert Hooke (1918 - ? .. not the Hooke who was a friend of Newton's!)