Syllabus: Stat 202 Spring 2016

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Basic Statistics (Stat 202) Section 001

Materials: [New Lectures for Spring 2016][Fall 2015 Lectures][Summer 2015 Lectures] [Spring 2015 Lectures] [Problems/Homework/Exercises][Data] [Links and Other Materials]

Instructor: Sean Carver, Ph.D., Professorial Lecturer, American University.


  • office location: 107 Gray Hall
  • email:
  • office phone: 202-885-6629

Course Description (from department website): Data presentation, display, and summary, averages, dispersion, simple linear regression, and correlation, probability, sampling distributions, confidence intervals, and tests of significance. Use of statistical software both to analyze real data and to demonstrate and explore concepts. Four credit hours.

A Word of Warning: The Math/Stat Department at AU teaches STAT 202 to prepare students to use statistics in advanced courses required for many majors. Thus the STAT 202 instructor does not always have the luxury of setting the most comfortable and easy pace through the course material. The pace will be determined by what we need to cover for your future classes. There is a lot of material in the curriculum, so be prepared to work hard and spend a lot of time studying outside of class.

Prerequisite: MATH-15x or higher, or permission of department. No prior knowledge of statistics is assumed.

Text: Intro to Practice of Statistics, Edition: 8th. Online version of textbook is here:

Software: StatCrunch (web-based software), use this link:

Learning Outcomes: These learning objectives may be tweaked and edited within the first month of the course:

[Credit to Prof. Addo]: By the end of the course, the student should be able to:

  • Use and understand common statistical terminology.
  • Understand data collection methods including designed experiments and sampling methods.
  • Know when to use stemplot, histograms, pie charts, bar charts, and box plots to describe a given distribution.
  • Calculate and interpret the measures of center and spread.
  • Understand the concepts of correlation and linear regression.
  • Understand the concepts of randomness and probability.
  • Understand and interpret probability distributions such as the normal, student's t- and chi-square distributions.
  • State the central limit theorem and understand the concept of a sampling distribution.
  • Calculate confidence intervals for means and proportions--one sample.
  • Use sampling techniques to test hypotheses for means and proportions--one and two samples, contingency table, and goodness-of-fit.

Office Hours: Students are strongly encouraged to come to office hours if they need or want help.

My office is Gray Hall, Room 107. Office hours are TENTATIVELY scheduled as follows: (may be adjusted throughout the semester)

  • Monday, Wednesday, Thursday: 4:30 PM TO 6:30 PM.

NOTE: If you would like to come to office hours on a regular or irregular basis and you have a compelling reason why you cannot make it during the hours listed above, please send me an email. I cannot guarantee that I can find a time that works, but I will try.

Tutoring through AU's Academic Support and Access Center. By appointment. See

Tutoring through MATH/STAT tutoring center: Gray Hall, Room 110, Hours:

  • Walk-ins welcome
  • The tutoring center has not posted its hours for the Spring semester.

Tutoring Lab Hours during Fall Semester:

  • Monday - Thursday: 11:00 AM - 8:00 PM
  • Friday: 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM
  • Sunday: 3:00 PM - 8:00 PM
  • Saturday: Closed

Class times and locations:

  • Monday & Thursday: 2:35 PM - 3:50 PM, WARD CIRCLE BUILDING, Room 302
  • Wednesday: 2:35 PM - 3:35 PM, WARD CIRCLE BUILDING, Room 302

Important Dates:

  • January 11 (Monday): First day of class
  • January 18 (Monday): Martin Luther King Day, no class
  • February 4 (Thursday): Midterm Exam 1, WARD CIRCLE BUILDING, Room ST-01
  • February 11 (Thursday): Optional Extra-credit Project Proposals due.
  • March 7, 9, & 10 (Monday, Wednesday, Thursday) Spring Break, no class.
  • March 31 (Thursday): Midterm Exam 2, WARD CIRCLE BUILDING, Room ST-01
  • April 25 (Monday): Last Class, (Optional, Extra-credit) Projects due.
  • May 2 (Monday): Final Exam (2:35PM - 5:05PM), ANDERSON HALL, Rooms B-11 & B-13

Optional Extra-credit Project: You are given the opportunity to complete an optional extra-credit project. The topic will be different for each person, but should be something that interests you. There should be a written component to the project, which you turn in. There can also be independent study, library research, interviews of statisticians, use of existing data, etc. However, if you want to collect your own data, (I really discourage this), you MUST do it in a scientifically acceptable way.

If you are thinking of doing a project, please work with me during the first month of class to decide on a project topic. We will also brainstorm ideas in class. Please turn in a project proposal stating your intentions by February 11. Grades will be awarded based on percentage points added to your final score. Typically this will be up to 3 percentage points (usually 1, 2, or 3), but can be higher in exceptional cases. How do I decide what grade to give? Basically I am looking for (1) projects that relate to statistics, and (2) projects that involve worthy effort---worthy in the sense of benefiting your goals, dreams, and/or interests. Projects are due on the last day of class.

Tentative grading scheme:

Attendance and Participation 10%
Homework 15%
Midterm Exam 1 25%
Midterm Exam 2 25%
Project EXTRA
Final 25%

Class Etiquette: Please give the class your full attention and refrain from talking during lectures, texting, surfing the web, and similar distractions. Please participate in class by asking questions when you do not understand something. Invariably other students benefit from these questions.

Academic Integrity: Cheating is not acceptable and will not be tolerated. Consider this: in subtle ways, cheating to get a better grade on an exam can result in lowering the grades of some of your classmates. Certainly this is true when a specific curve is used to assign grades. Even when I don't use curves explicitly, they can be implicit in decisions about writing and grading exams. As required by the policy of American University, I will report all suspected cases of cheating to the Dean's office who will proceed to investigate and adjudicate the issues. Cheating is giving or receiving unauthorized assistance on exams, from other students or other people, from notes, from books, or from the web. When inappropriate copying between students is caught, both parties may be culpable.

Homework, Attendance and Participation Policy: Usually I award a maximum of 10 points for each homework set, due one week after it is assigned. Additionally I award 5 points per day for class attendance. I like to give the solutions to homework problems at the same time I assign the problems. Conscientious students, who wrestle with problems before looking at the answers, benefit from having instant feedback about their solutions, right, wrong, or incomplete. Less conscientious students who use the answers to easily complete the assignments often do poorly on exams. The responsibility for your education rests in your own hands. Don't be one of the outliers who use shortcuts to avoid preparing for the exams. Concerning homework, you are encouraged to work with your classmates, if you find that helpful. In fact, you are encouraged to do whatever you find most helpful with the homework, but by turning in a solution to a problem, you pledge that you understand the solution, or that you talked to me in office hours or during or after class and made a good faith effort to understand how to do the problem. If it looks like you got the full benefit from the assignment, I will award you a perfect 10 points. I may mark you down if it seems that you have copied the answers without including any of the required calculations. You must include your work. One more thing about homework: you can turn in your homework by showing me your solutions during office hours or during active-learning periods of class, or after class. If you do this, please DO turn in a mostly blank page of paper with your name on it and the numbers of the homework set(s) you have completed. After I check your work, I will put my initials on your mostly blank page, then keep the page for my records. Some students prefer to turn in their work this way because they prefer not to tear pages with work from their notebooks. Absences will be excused if you have a compelling reason why you can't make it to class. Please email me ahead of time if possible.

Optional Homework I am evaluating a computer program from our textbook publisher called Launchpad. I may use require and use LaunchPad in future courses. For now, you can use it to drill on extra optional problem problems. It costs money, but it comes with online access to the textbook for the duration of the semester, so if you get LaunchPad, you won't need to buy the textbook (and LaunchPad costs $97.99 which is cheaper than the textbook). There is also a trial membership for a few weeks, for free. This is completely optional, I haven't used it enough to be able to recommend it. But do let me know if you are thinking of trying it.

Public Service Announcement: A representative of AU's Students Against Sexual Violence (SASV) approached me and asked me to include on my syllabi a list of resources available for survivors of sexual assault and their friends. While sexual violence is by no means the only challenge faced by students, I agree that this issue merits particular attention, so I am honoring her request by attaching the list she gave me:

Sexual Assault Resources

  • It’s never the survivor’s fault. There are many people you can talk to if you or someone you care about has been sexually assaulted:
  • AU's Sexual Assault Prevention Coordinator Daniel Rappaport (
  • AU's Coordinator for Victim Advocacy Sara Yzaguirre (
  • DC SANE Program (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) 1-800-641-4028
  • The only hospital in DC area that gives Physical Evidence Recover Kits (rape kits) is Medstar Washington Hospital
  • DC Rape Crisis Center: 202-333-7273
  • Students found responsible for sexual misconduct can be sanctioned with penalties that include suspension or expulsion from American University, and they may be subject to criminal charges
  • If you want to submit a formal complaint against someone who has sexually assaulted you, harassed you, or discriminated against you based on your gender identity or sexual orientation, you can do so online at, or contact the Dean of Students at or 202-885-3300. These are Title IX violations, and universities are legally required to prohibit these actions.
  • Resources on campus that are required to keep what you tell them confidential are Daniel Rappaport, Sara Yzaguirre, ordained chaplains in Kay, and counselors at the counseling center. (OASIS may also belong here but it didn't exist when this list was created.)