Introduction to Statistical Tools
At some point most quantitative assessments use statistical tools. When the word "statistics" is mentioned many people have one of two reactions. "That was the best class I ever had!" or "That is the course that almost ended my college studies!"
Understanding and evaluation of many assessment efforts require some use of statistics. So, I've written a brief primer describing the central ideas we use in examining data. Since the application of statistics can become complex, and computers now make the calculations accessible, I've tried to explain each concept in terms of what is measured and how to use the statistical findings.
The following pages are organized first into a section that focuses on considering a single variable (evaluation), a second section that focuses on relationships between two or more variables (modeling), and thirdly an overview of outcomes assessment processes.
- Focusing of what is being measured
- Focusing on how it is being measured
- Evaluating single variable data
- Descriptive statistics
- Standard error
- Confidence interval
- Margin of error
- Regression and Correlation
- Control for external variables
- Statistical controls
- Cause and effect
- Example of why control of extranious variables is important: Unemployment and Crime
- Model reduction
- Focusing on measurment
- Sound and appropriate reasoning.
- Cause and effect reasoning
- Probabilty and determinism when considering effects and prediction
- General education assessments
- Articulating measurments with outcome statements
- Discipline assessments
- Classroom assessments
- Reporting assessment findings