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This course is a general introduction to the field of statistics.
Much of what we will do can be placed in one of the following
- Producing Good Data
- Goal: To understand the basic methodologies of observational studies
and randomized experiments.
- Describing and Analyzing Data
- Goal: To understand several basic statistical summaries
(numerical and graphical) and their use to summarize data sets.
- Drawing Trustworthy Conclusions from Data
- Goal: To understand the basic principles that allow us to
draw conclusions about a large population from information
collected from a smaller sample.
- Goal: To understand in detail the mathematics involved in
several of the most commonly used statistical procedures.
- Considering the Role of Statistics in Contemporary Society and in
Various Academic Disciplines
- Goal: To become an educated consumer of statistics as reported in
the mass media and in technical reports.
- Randall Pruim
office: North Hall 284
phone: (616) 957-7113
- Time & Location
Tuesday, Thursday 6:00 - 8:00 pm, in North Hall 295
- Office hours
My schedule this semester varies from week to week, but if you send
me an email or catch me after class, we can probably arrange a time
to meet fairly easily.
In addition to my office hours, there is also a statistics
help session every Monday and Wednesday from
4-5:30 pm in NH 295. This program is run through the
Student Academic Services office.
- I will maintain an email list of all students registered in this class
and will occasionally use it to distribute information and reminders of
various things pertaining to this course. If you do not know how to access
your email, please talk to someone at the IT help desk. If you prefer to
read your email from an account other than your calvin student account,
send me email with the email address you prefer.
You can also send email to the class list or particular students
in the class via
Please check your email daily.
You are responsible for any information communicated via email.
- Web Pages
In addition to this home page,
I will also maintain a list of web resources pertaining to this course.
You are responsible for any information appearing on the course
Items I have prepared and maintain online include
- a customizable calendar
of daily readings, lecture topics, exams, homework etc.
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- a list of homework
assignments. Due dates will be maintained on the calendar above.
(I may also distribute these via email.)
- information about tests and exams.
- web overheads used in class.
- BlackBoard CourseInfo
I am also making partial use of Calvin's
You can go to BlackBoard to check your grades, send email to individuals
or groups in the class, and to read all the other information (like this page)
that I have on line. For more information on how to use CourseInfo,
see the online tutorial.
If you are having difficulty with any portion of the course, do not
hesitate to see me.
Do this as soon as possible, certainly well in advance of any
deadlines (like tests) so that we can work to fix the problem.
Introduction to the Practice of Statistics, Third Edition
by D.S. Moore and G.P. McCabe.
Additional readings may also be assigned.
Grading will be based on the following approximate weighting:
10% Quizzes and Labs
25% Test 1
25% Test 2
30% Final Exam
Tests are currently scheduled for the following dates:
Thursday, March 9;
Thursday, April 13;
In-class quizzes may be given at any time. Often I will let you know in
advance when they will be, but not always.
Quizzes cannot not be made up for those who miss them, but I will drop
your lowest quiz or two at the end of the semester.
You will not be able to master the material in this course without
practice. I will make assignments every day. Some portions of
these assignments will be collected and others will not.
Please follow the guidelines below:
Problems to be handed in should be worked neatly,
showing all of your work and explaining your reasoning.
The work should be organized in paragraph manner
(work left to right and top to bottom; use English sentences to
explain what you are doing, etc.).
Any work that is illegible or disorganized will not be graded.
Label each page with your name and the assignment.
Each problem should be clearly labeled as well.
Leave a little space between problems.
Each problem set should be on a separate sheet of paper.
If you use more than one sheet of paper,
these sheets must be stapled in the upper left
corner. If you use spiral bound paper, please remove the fringe along
the edge of the paper.
No late work will be accepted.
I will drop your lowest 1 or 2 quizzes and your lowest 3 homework scores.
This is intended to allow for the occasional absence, sickness, etc.
You may find it pleasant and useful to work together on many portions
of this course. I encourage you to do so. BUT you must abide by the
Attendance is required.
If you miss class, you are missing an important part of this course.
In class we will be doing activities that reinforce the statistical
ideas covered in the textbook, viewing videos, discussing readings,
answering questions. These are difficult things to replace in any
We will often have a quiz or other activity that will also serve as
an attendance check. Quizzes cannot be made up for students
who miss class.
Preparing for class
You should bring with you each day:
Of course, you should have read (and thought about) any assigned readings
prior to coming to class. You may want to have your notes handy, especially
if you have questions regarding the readings or homework.
- any homework due that day,
- your textbook,
- a calculator,
- any additional readings that have been handed out (put them in a folder
so that you can locate them easily),
- and any other materials I announce ahead of time.
Occasionally there are special circumstances that require that the rules
and guidelines above be adjusted for a particular student.
In such cases, it is the responsibility of the student to inform me
of the situation as soon as possible, so that the appropriate
arrangements can be made. This includes, but is not limited to,
students with documented disabilities.
This page maintained by:
Wednesday, 27-Apr-2005 10:50:07 EDT
Department of Mathematics and Statistics