Syllabus Stat 202 Spring 2019

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Basic Statistics (Stat 202) Spring 2019 (Sections 001 and 002)

(For course materials, click here).

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


  • office location: Don Myers Technology and Innovation Building (DMTI, East Campus), Room 208F
  • email:
  • office phone: 202-885-6629

Course Description: Stat 202 is an introduction to statistics that emphasizes working with data and statistical ideas. Topics covered include: classification of data, averages, variability, probability, frequency distributions, confidence intervals, tests of significance, least squares regression, and correlation. A computer package is used to demonstrate statistical techniques. A major focus for this course is the ideas behind, and the methods for, drawing conclusions about a population from a sample.

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.

Another Word of Warning: The material gets progressively harder throughout the semester, and later topics build on earlier ones. Learn the foundations well, and don't fall behind, because it is hard to catch up.

To reiterate: Studying, and in-class, Expectations:

  • Please note that this course is a 4-Credit Core Course and is part of the University’s Foundation Courses in Quantitative Literacy. We cover a large amount of material in this course (see the weekly schedule provided below). To do well in this course you will need to devote a minimum of 4 to 6 hours per week to studying the material over and above the time spent in-class. The study of Statistics is cumulative in nature – that is every single class builds on, and presumes, your mastering of statistical concepts & techniques covered in the previous class/es. In order to keep up with the class you will need to study & practice the weekly materials and maintain regular attendance throughout the semester.

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

Text for Class: Stats: Data & Models, Fourth Edition by Deveaux, Velleman, and Bock. Note the title of the text: there are two Statistics texts available with the same three authors, however the correct e-book comes free of charge with MyStatLab registration and registration for the course. A loose-leaf printed copy can be optionally purchased via MyStatLab for additional money. A bound copy can be optionally purchased separately, but this is expensive. Bound rental copies are available on-line for a very reasonable price.

Learning Management Software: MyStatLab from Pearson. Can be purchased from the bookstore and available as a free two week trial. Access instructions will be handed out on the first day of class. You must register for the section you belong to (001 or 002). You will need to upgrade your free access to full semester access. MyStatLab comes bundled with a subscription to the e-Textbook we will use for the course. You will need this bundle to complete and turn in the required homework.

Instructions for logging into MyStatLab for the first time:

Statistical Software: StatCrunch. StatCrunch is very easy to learn, and is a great pedagogical tool. StatCrunch (web-based software comes free with MyStatLab and is accessed through MyStatLab. You can also access StatCrunch from StatCrunch.Com but you may need to pay for access through this site.

Please Bring A Laptops To Class! I will be demonstrating software in class with the idea that you follow along with your own computer. Additionally, I will be giving problems to solve in class that require a computer. You may borrow a computer from the library if yours is temporarily unavailable.

Learning Outcomes: Learning objectives: At the end of this course you will be expected to

  1. understand the major concepts related to statistical reasoning and to statistical inferences for drawing such conclusions
  2. understand how these concepts are used in experiments and observational studies across many disciplines, and
  3. implement the methods yourself in statistical analyses.

Work will be a balance between understanding the concepts underlying a method, implementation of the method, and interpretation of the results.

This course is divided into four related areas of study:

  1. Data collection – the theory and practice of study design.
  2. Data summary and exploration – which illustrates to us how the data actually behave.
  3. Probability and sampling theory – from which we determine how we expect the data to behave.
  4. Data analysis – which allows us to reconcile our expectations with the actual data behavior so that we can make statistical inferences and drawing conclusions.

Office Hours: Students are strongly encouraged to come to office hours if they need or want help. My office hours are tentatively scheduled, as follows (days and times may be adjusted throughout the semester, please come talk to me if you want to come but can't make those times):

  • Monday, Wednesday, Thursday: 11:40 AM - 1:00 PM
  • No office hours during MLK day or Spring Break.
  • My office is DMTI 208F.

SI Leader: Abigail Danfora.

Tutoring through MATH/STAT tutoring center: Don Myers Building, Room 103, walk-ins welcome. See below, and

Class times and locations:

  • Section 001: Monday, Wednesday*, Thursday 8:10 AM - 9:25 AM, DMTI 119
  • Section 002: Monday, Wednesday*, Thursday 9:45 AM - 11:00 AM, DMTI 119
  • *Wednesday classes dismiss 15 minutes earlier.

Emergency Preparedness: In the event of an emergency, students should refer to the AU Web site and the AU information line at (202) 885-1100 for general university-wide information. Information specific to this course during a prolonged closure of the university will be posted on Blackboard.

Tentative Weekly Plan:

Week 1 Jan 14 0 (Due 1-16) Chapter 1: Introduction, STATS Starts Here.
1.1 What is statistics?
1.2 Data.
1.3 Variables.

Chapter 2: Displaying and Describing Categorical Data.

2.1 Summarizing and displaying a single categorical variable.
2.2 Exploring the relationship between two categorical variables.

Chapter 3: Displaying and Summarizing Quantitative Data.

3.1 Displaying quantitative variables.
3.2 Shape.
3.3 Center.
3.4 Spread.
Week 2 Jan 21 1, 1R, 2, 2R Chapter 3: Displaying and Summarizing Quantitative Data.
3.5 Boxplots and the five-number summaries.
3.6 The center of symmetric distributions: the mean.
3.7 The spread of symmetric distributions: the standard deviation.
3.8 Summary: what to tell about a quantitative variable.
Week 3 Jan 28 3, 3R Chapter 4: Understanding and Comparing Distributions.
4.1 Comparing Groups with Histograms.
4.2 Comparing Groups with Boxplots.
4.3 Outliers.
4.4 Time series plots.
4.5 Re-expressing data a first look.

Chapter 5: The Standard Deviation as Ruler and the Normal Model.

5.1 Standardizing with z-scores.
5.2 Shifting and Scaling.
5.3 Normal models.
5.4 Finding normal percentiles.
5.5 Normal Probability Plots.
Week 4 Feb 4 4, 4R, 5, 5R Chapter 6: Scatterplots, Association and Correlation.
6.1 Scatterplots.
6.2 Correlation.
6.3 Warning: Correlation Causation.
6.4 Straightening scatterplots.
Week 5: Exam Wed Feb 11 6, 6R EXAM Wed Feb 13: Chapters 1-5

Chapter 7: Linear Regression.

7.1 Least Squares Line of “Best Fit.”
7.2 The Linear Model.
7.3 Finding the Least Squares Line.
7.4 Regression to the Mean.
7.5 Examining the Residuals.
7.6 : the variation accounted for by the model.
7.7 Regression Assumptions and Conditions.
Week 6 Feb 18 7, 7R Chapter 8: Regression Wisdom.
8.1 Examining Residuals.
8.2 Extrapolation: reaching beyond the data.
8.3 Outlier, Leverage, and Influence.
8.4 Lurking variables and causation.
8.5 Working with summary values.
Week 7 Feb 25 8, 8R Chapter 10: Understanding Randomness.
10.1 What is randomness.
10.2 Simulating by Hand.

Chapter 11: Sample Surveys.

11.1 The Three Big Ideas of Sampling.
11.2 Populations and Parameters.
11.3 Simple Random Sample.
11.4 Other Sample Designs.
11.5 From the population to the sample: you can’t always get what you want.
11.6 The Valid Survey.
11.7 Common Sampling Mistakes or How to Sample Badly.
Week 8 Mar 4 10, 10R, 11, 11R Chapter 12: Experiments and Observational Studies.
12.1 Observational Studies.
12.2 Randomized, Comparative Experiments.
12.3 Four Principles of Experimental Designs.
12.4 Control Groups.
12.5 Blocking.
12.6 Confounding.
Week 9 Mar 11 None Spring Break
Week 10 Mar 18 12, 12R Chapter 13: From Randomness to Probability.
13.1 Random Phenomena.
13.2 Modeling Probability.
13.3 Formal Probability.

Chapter 14: Probability Rules.

14.1 The General Addition Rule.
14.2 Conditional Probability and the Multiplication Rule.
14.3 Independence.

Chapter 15: Random Variables.

15.1 Center: The Expected value.
15.2 Spread: The Standard Deviation.

Chapter 16: Probability Models.

16.1 Bernoulli Trials.
16.2 The Geometric.
16.3 The Binomial Model.
Week 11: Exam Wed Mar 25 13, 13R, 14, 14R, 15, 15R, 16, 16R EXAM Wed Mar 27: Chapters 6-12

Chapter 17: Sampling Distribution Models and Confidence Intervals for Proportions.

17.1 Sampling Distribution Model for a Proportion.
17.2 When does the normal model work? Assumptions and Conditions.
17.3 Sampling Distribution of other statistics.
17.4 The Central Limit Theorem.
17.5 Sampling Distributions: a summary.
Week 12 Apr 1 17, 17R Chapter 18: Confidence Intervals for Proportion.
18.1 A Confidence Interval.
18.2 Interpreting confidence interval: What does 95% confidence really means.
18.3 Margin of error: certainty vs precision.
18.4 Assumptions and Conditions.

Chapter 19: Testing Hypothesis about Proportions.

19.1 Hypotheses.
19.2 P-values.
19.3 The Reasoning of Hypothesis Testing.
19.4 Alternative Alternatives.
19.5 P-values and decisions: What to tell about a Hypothesis Test.
Week 13 Apr 8 18, 18R, 19, 19R Chapter 20: Inference about Means.
20.1 Getting started: The Central Limit Theorem (again).
20.2 Gosset’s t.
20.3 Interpreting Confidence Interval.
20.4 A hypothesis test for the Mean.
20.5 Choosing sample size.

Chapter 21: More about tests and intervals.

21.1 Choosing Hypothesis.
21.2 How to think about p-values.
21.3 Alpha Levels.
21.4 Critical Values for Hypothesis tests.
21.5 Errors.
Week 14 Apr 15 20, 20R, 21, 21R Chapter 22: Comparing Groups.
22.1 The standard deviation of a difference.
22.2 Assumptions and conditions for comparing proportions.
22.3 A confidence interval for the difference of two proportions.
22.4 The two sample Z: testing for the difference of two proportions.
22.5 A confidence interval for the difference between two means.
22.6 the two-sample t-test: testing for the difference between two means.
22.7 The pooled t-test
Week 15 Apr 22 22, 22R Chapter 23: Paired Samples and Blocks
23.1 Paired data.
23.2 Assumptions and Conditions.
23.3 Confidence Interval for Matched Pairs.
Last Class Mon Apr 29 23, 23R Review

Responsibility: There is a lot of material on the schedule listed above, and ultimately you are responsible for learning all of it---by paying attention and asking questions during class, by reading the text, by doing the homework sets, etc.

Important Dates:

  • Monday, January 14: First day of class.
  • Monday, January 21: Martin Luther King, Jr. day, no class or office hours.
  • Wednesday, February 13: Midterm Exam 1.
  • Week of March 10: Spring Break. No class or office hours.
  • Friday, March 22: Last Day to Drop Class.
  • Wednesday, March 27: Midterm Exam 2.
  • Monday, April 29: Last Day of Class.
  • Early May: Final Exams (see below for specifics).

Final Exams:

  • Please note that I will not be able to accommodate students who wish to switch their exam time with another slot that I am proctoring the exam.
  • Please note that inconvenience with travel plans is NOT a valid excuse for not taking the final as scheduled.
  • If you miss the final or any exam, you will need an excuse through the Dean of Students.
  • With an excused absence, the make up may not be until next semester (June or September) the meantime you will get an incomplete.
  • Section 001 (usually meets at 8:10 AM), your final exam: Monday, May 6, 8:10 AM - 10:40 AM
  • Section 002 (usually meets at 9:45 AM), your final exam: Thursday, May 2, 8:10 AM - 10:40 AM (NOTE: The start time for our final exam is different from the usual start of our class!)

Grading scheme:

95%-100% A
90%-94.9999% A-
87%-89.9999% B+
83%-86.9999% B
80%-82.9999% B-
77%-79.9999% C+
68%-76.9999% C
65%-67.9999% C-
55%-64.9999% D
0%-54.9999% F

Grading rubric:

Homework 15%
Quizzes 0%
Midterm Exam 1 25%
Midterm Exam 2 25%
Final Exam 25%
Participation 5%
Attendance 5%


  • Calculators are allowed during homework and exams. Any simple calculator is absolutely sufficient.
  • Collaboration on a homework or lab is OK, even encouraged! Exams are to be done individually.

Cell Phones and Other Media:

  • Cell phones need to be silenced and put away during class. Personal use of electronic media during class time is highly distracting – it downgrades the quality of the classroom learning experience for everyone. Laptops (tablets, readers, etc.) should only be out during class time if they are being used for classroom activities. Please save texting, typing/sending emails, checking Facebook, etc. for outside of class time. If you need to attend to something urgently, it is OK to excuse yourself from the classroom.

Accommodations: Please let me know during the first week of classes if you have any special needs that require accommodations.

Incompletes: A grade of incomplete will only be given under extreme circumstances and will not be granted to any student who is failing.

Homework: Assigned, completed, and automatically graded through MyStatLab. MyStatLab has on-line help to assist with problems. An incorrect problem can be attempted again.

Quizzes: On the first day of every week (except the first week) there will be a quiz to test your knowledge of the material. These quizzes will not be for credit and will be self-graded. Bring a pen or pencil and something to write on.

Exams: You will use a lab computer if one is available. Otherwise, you will need your computer. You can borrow a computer from the library, if needed. You will have access to StatCrunch. You will not be able to do Google searches, access this website, or use your computer in any other way, unless cleared by instructor. Absences on exam days must be excused through the Dean of Students, who needs to send a letter to me indicating that they excuse your absence. If excused through the Dean of Students, you do not need to disclose the reason to me.

Participation: Periodically, I will assign labs to be completed in class. For these labs you will receive a participation grade.

Attendance: Roll will be called all or most days of class so please see me at the end of class if you came in late. You are expected to attend every class. However, there can be compelling reasons why you may need to miss class, once in a while. You must email me if you are not going to attend within 24 hours after the class you missed. Please indicate the reason, unless your absence is being excused by the Dean of Students---in which case, let me know this. Absences are OK only occasionally and only for good reasons (such as sick, religious holidays for faith you practice, varsity meets for a team you are on, etc---not a complete list). If you need to miss more than occasionally, even if it's for good a good reason, please consider dropping the class. If you miss one or more times unexcused, or more than occasionally excused (not counting those excused through official channels) you may receive an "early warning." After your warning you are in danger of losing all credit (all 5%) in the attendance category. Every day builds upon the material previously covered, and missing class puts you at a disadvantage, even if it is for a good reason.

Class time: Class time will be divided between lectures, quizzes, and labs. In addition, there will be plenty of class time devoted to working on homework with my supervision (active learning). You are permitted to access the book at any time during class, except during the no-credit quizzes and for-credit exams. Think of the no-credit quizzes as a dry run for the exams, so they will operate under the same rules.

Class Etiquette: Please participate in class by asking questions when you do not understand something. Invariably other students benefit from these questions. Please engage in discussions, and please engage with the class, generally. I find it easier to give good lectures when students are asking questions, and engaging with the material.

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. I will handle all cases of suspected cheating according to the policies of American University. Specifically, I am required to report cases of academic dishonesty to the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Cheating is giving or receiving unauthorized assistance on exams, from other students or other people, from notes, from books, or from the web. AU’s academic code is found at

Support Services: A wide range of services is available to support you in your efforts to meet the course requirements.

  • Mathematics & Statistics Tutoring Lab (Myers Building, room 103) provides tutoring in Mathematics and Statistics. Lab hours are Monday-Thursday 11 am – 8 pm, Friday 11 am – 3 pm, and Sunday 3 pm – 8 pm. Strongly recommended!!!
  • One-on-one tutoring is also available for math through Calc II and stats through Intermediate Statistics. Students may sign up for 45-minute appointments, up to 2 times per week. They can schedule appointments at 
  • Academic Support and Access Center (x3360, MGC 243) offers study skills workshops, individual instruction, tutor referrals, Supplemental Instruction, writing support, and technical and practical support and assistance with accommodations for students with physical, medical, or psychological disabilities. Writing support is also available in the Writing Center, Battelle-Tompkins 228.
  • Counseling Center (x3500, MGC 214) offers counseling and consultations regarding personal concerns, self-help information, and connections to off-campus mental health resource.
  • 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, including: AU's Office of Advocacy Services for Interpersonal and Sexual Violence (OASIS):

Class Mascot: Meet Knoll, my pet rabbit. Knoll will serve as the mascot for our class!