Syllabus: Stat 202 Fall 2015

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Basic Statistics (Stat 202) Section 010

Materials: [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: The textbook is available from the publisher, Macmillan, through an online package called LaunchPad. We will also be using this online package for homework. Check your email for more information.

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

Learning Outcomes: [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: 5:30 PM TO 7:30 PM.

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 Fall semester.

Class times and locations:

  • Monday & Thursday: 11:45 AM - 1:00 PM, HURST HALL, Room 110
  • Wednesday: 11:45 AM - 12:45 PM, WARD CIRCLE BUILDING, Room 302

Important Dates:

  • August 31 (Monday): First day of class
  • September 7 (Monday): Labor Day, no class
  • October 1 (Thursday): Midterm Exam 1 (during class time in SPA/WARD ST-01)
  • October 19 & 21 (Monday & Wednesday): Substitute instructor; Dr. Carver attends the Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience
  • Late October: Project
  • November 9 (Monday): Midterm Exam 2 (during class time in SPA/WARD ST-01)
  • November 23 (Monday): Optional Class
  • November 25 & 26 (Wednesday & Thursday): Thanksgiving Holiday (no class)
  • December 3 (Thursday): Last Class
  • December 7 (Monday): Final Exam (11:45 AM - 02:15 PM in SPA/WARD ST-01)

Project: Last fall students in several Stat 202 and 203 sections took part in an exit poll project designed to discover whether voter ID laws were preventing people from voting. Though some were initially reluctant, nearly all of the participants enjoyed the chance to take part in a real-world application of what they were learning in statistics. This fall there is no important election taking place, but we have an opportunity to address a related question: how many people do not even go to the polls because they have no IDs? And, in fact, how many are not aware of the voter ID laws? The sample design last year was worked out by the students in Stat 510 (now Stat 405/605) Survey Sampling. The sample was stratified according to income and race of the precincts [we will learn what that means]; the exit poll was conducted at the selected precincts on election day. This year we need to find a way to sample the potential voters. Tentatively we plan to survey at selected grocery stores or drug stores, supplemented by sites to find particular voters such as young people, older people, disadvantaged or disabled people, using GIS to select the locations. The survey will be done only in nearby northern Virginia, since that is where voter ID laws were shown to have an effect last year; it need not be done on a specific day, but we would want to select a week, probably in late October for the survey. We also will select sites accessible by public transportation.

Tentative grading scheme:

Attendance and Participation 5%
Homework 15%
Midterm Exam 1 25%
Midterm Exam 2 25%
Project 5%
Final 25%

Class Etiquette: Please give the class your full attention and refrain from 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: I am evaluating StatsPortal and an alternative called LauchPad for doing homework online. I also have paper Problems/Homeworks/Exercises on the link above, which may be used as homework or just in class exercises. I expect to have a firmer homework policy by the second week of class. Check back on this website or wait for an announcement in class.

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.)