stats in the garden of good and evil

I am having a fun time teaching intro stats on Monday mornings. I try to balance the class by constantly switching back between the big picture (why do we use this stuff / social implications behind stats) and the nitty gritty (how to calculate formulas by hand yadayada). Today we started class by talking about a certain blog that featured a list of so-called best institutions for White students as calculated by combining mean SAT and %age White students…which brought us into things like measures of central tendency, descriptive statistics vs. inferential statistics, and the way that “objective” #s are framed with social meanings. Then we got into z-scores and probability, and wrapped up class with an example of stats being used for the social good–Hans Rosling’s most fun and excellent TED talk on debunking myths about the third world. Free the data! Instant replay!

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