Instructor: Gary C. Ramseyer
Office: 451 Degarmo Hall
Web Site: http://www.ilstu.edu/~gcramsey
Howell, D.C. (1997). Statistical Methods for Psychology (4th ed). Belmont, CA: Duxbury.
This course is designed to enhance the student's basic knowledge and understanding of the statistical method as it pertains to hypothesis testing. Several fundamental reoccurring themes are emphasized. At the end of the semester a student should be able to read and intelligently assess the majority of the research literature in his or her own particular field. Also, at the end of the semester a student should be able to apply the statistical techniques presented in the course to his or her own research projects.
METHOD OF INSTRUCTION:
A combination of lecture and discussion is employed. Class notes are presented in detail on the blackboard and through dittoed and mimeographed handouts. Actually, a student is encouraged to write his or her own textbook from the presented materials. Practice exercises are assigned at the end of each unit and typically some class time is devoted to the solutions of each set (these are not handed in or graded). Following discussion of the practice exercises, one or two additional exercises are assigned and these are handed in and graded. Students are encouraged at all times during the course to participate in discussion, to ask questions, or to simply release their pent up aggression against statistics (please frown, smile or show other emotions). The instructor endeavors to promote a relaxed, free-wheeling atmosphere in the classroom.
A ten-digit scientific calculator.
A student's grade in the course is based on his or her performance on three written (i.e., problems and short-answer), open-book examinations and the graded, hand-in exercises. Each exam is equally weighted, noncomprehensive, and approximately 40 points (4 or 5 questions) in length. The student is allowed approximately two hours of working time for each exam and may utilize freely various textbooks, class notes, and prepared summary sheets (the only exam aid ruled out is a statistical consultant). An approximate letter grade will be assigned to each exam based on comparing the exam's distribution with distributions from previous semesters on parallel exams. Only points not letter grades are recorded and accumulated in the grade book. The hand-in exercises account for approximately 30-35 points over the semester or roughly the equivalent of a fourth exam. At the close of the semester, the distribution of composite scores is compared with composite distributions from previous semesters to arrive at a final letter grade for each student. Over perhaps a ten-year period, the approximate distribution of final grades is as follows: 25% As, 55% Bs, 20% Cs. It should be emphasized, however, that these are long-run average percentages over many semesters and that in any given semester the percentage in a grade category may vary up or down depending on the comparative magnitude of the composite scores. Also this distribution in no way precludes the assignment of a letter grade lower than C in any given semester. The instructor feels strongly that this comparative system of grading is fair and allows the student to earn a grade commensurate with his or her achievement regardless of how peers perform in the class. Classroom attendance is mandatory except for emergency situations.
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