Syllabus

P

100%

Perfection

√+

90%

All problems answered correctly with a few minor errors

85%

All problems attempted, though not all correct

√-

50%

Some problems missing

0

0%

Few problems attempted or nothing turned in

To receive credit, you must show your work. When applicable, answers to the homework assignments will be posted on the course website at 5:00 PM on the due date. ANY assignment turned in after the deadline will receive a ° – (but keep in mind that turning in your assignment late will be much better than failing to hand it in at all). You may consult with your fellow students regarding homework problems; however, each student must turn in their own work.

Group Project: Working in groups of either 2 or 3 (you may not work alone), you will be required to design an experiment and analyze the resulting data. The goal of the project is to give you some experience in devising a research question, designing an experiment to answer that question, determining what the data you collect means, and writing a brief report of what you found. The first step is for you to find a group and start thinking of a question. You must turn in a one paragraph proposal by the middle of October (see course schedule). You will also be responsible for scheduling meetings with me so that I can help you design your study. YOU MAY NOT COLLECT ANY DATA UNLESS I HAVE APPROVED YOUR STUDY! The group project will account for the remaining 15% of your course grade.

SPSS: During the course, we will learn to do many analyses the old-fashioned way, by hand. Learning the hand calculations is important because it allows you to see the “guts” of statistical procedures. However, current technology allows us to use computers to do the very same things. As you will see, there are some advantages and some disadvantages to using statistical software packages. Given that virtually all statistical work is now done on computers, I think it is important to expose you to this process, as well. SPSS is a good package for students because it is menu-driven (point & click). I don't expect any of you to become expert SPSSers, but I do hope that you will gain some comfort and experience with running analyses on the computer.

Office Hours: My office hours are listed at the top of the syllabus. If these times are not convenient, please come see me after class and we can schedule an appointment. You can also Email me to set up an appointment, but that system often leads to round after round of "Email-tag". One of my favorite parts of this job is meeting with students so please stop by even if you don't have a major problem.

Final Grades: Your final grade will be determined, as follows:

Midterm #120%
Midterm #225%
Take-Home Final Exam30%
Homework10%
Group Project15%

The assignment of letter grades will be based on 2 factors: 1) how you perform in an absolute sense, and 2) how you perform relative to everyone else in the class. This is usually a little confusing to students, so let me try to explain. Let's say the first exam is based on 100 points and you score a 75. Is that good or bad? It depends on how the rest of the class did. If the mean score on the exam was 50, you did very well. If the mean score was 90, you did not do well. That's the relative part of your grade. The absolute part of the grade ensures that you won't get a bad grade just because the class in general aces an exam. Let's say you score a 90, but the class average is 95. Would you receive a poor grade? No, because you clearly mastered most of the material on the exam, and thus deserve a high mark. However, be advised, an exam where the mean score is 95% would not discriminate students who know the material from those who don't. Therefore, exams will be written so that it is unlikely that a majority of the class will score 90% or better.

Pacing: The pages that follow outline the basic flow of the course. We will cover the text in the order described, but it is difficult to predict exactly how long each section/chapter will take. It varies widely from class-to-class. One class might pick up ANOVA quickly but struggle with regression, whereas another class might do the opposite. Homework will be due and exams will take place on the dates below; if necessary, assignments and exams will be adjusted to reflect the material we have covered by those dates. I will give you frequent updates regarding where we are and when I anticipate moving to the next topic.
     On a similar note, there is some variability in how quickly individual students pick up different concepts. Unfortunately, I can't run the class so that all of you will be happy; some will think we are moving too quickly, some will think we are moving too slowly. I will do what I can to keep the course moving at an appropriate speed for the majority of the class.

Calculator: A decent calculator - one that has Memory, Exponent and Square Root functions - will be extremely helpful. You should be able to purchase one for less than $10. You cannot program information into your calculator for exams.

Formula Sheet: For each exam, you will be allowed to prepare a formula sheet written on one half-sheet of notebook paper. Your formula sheet may contain as many formulas and definitions as you like, but bear in mind the sheet will be much more helpful if it is legible and well organized. You may not include any sample problems on your sheet. You MUST turn the sheet in at the end of the exam, so make sure you put your name on the sheet.

Aside to Math-Phobic Students: I am not going to lie to you, this course does involve math. However, the math is not going to be any more complex than the basic four (add, subtract, multiple, divide) with a little exponent/square root thrown in for good measure. Please do not panic! Natural arithmetic ability will help in this course; however, you do have the ability to learn this material even if you are “arithmetically-challenged”.


 

Taking Notes