Insights Assessment into Learning in Statistics

A Faculty Focus article titled A New Twist on End-of-Semester Evaluations originally provided the stimulus for the following assessment. The article suggests shifting from summative scalar evaluations such as are used at the college at present (Was the instructor on time most of the time, some of the time, rarely, never...) to exploring the course experience for the students. The evaluation produces a qualitative result rather than a quantitative result. Qualitative data does not reduce down to an average or median score, and the answers to instructional quality questions are embedded in the details of the individual answers. This takes more reading time than "Instructor Lee Ling has an average of 4.5 on the year end evaluation." Yet in the details are a richer and more nuanced view of the course, the material, the instructor, and the students.

The seven prompts are listed below, the students answers were transcribed as written. The course being evaluated was MS 150 Statistics. Many of the prompts included a "... because..." structure which is reflected in the format below.

The directions to the students were: "Your insights into your learning in this course can help me see our course from your side of the desk. Please respond to any three of the statements below (more if you’d like). Do not put your name on this sheet. I will use these insights as I plan for my courses next semester."

1. My learning of the content was most helped when… … because… 
…listening  to lecture. Because that is the moment that the instructor explains what to do in the homework.
…we did group work, because we get to share our knowledge together.
…I watch illustrative or graphs of data. It helps everyone a lot more to do better because they support the data to look for.
…reading the textbook.
…I focus in the classroom, because my mind is fresh and no disturbance.

2. The activity that contributed the most to my learning was… … because… 
…the homework given, because the daily homework helped me remember the different functions there were taught.
…the open data exploration. This allowed us to deal with "real life" situations that can be statistically recorded by using basic statistics.
…all the activities especially the beads on the floor activity, and the paper airplane activity. This class is helpful because there is problem solving, everything has numbers in them, and I know a bit more about numbers from now on.
…presentations because it teaches me how to work on my own and understanding the subject.
…the homework and especially the PowerPoint because both of them were challenging but in the end, I learned it. Like you said, there's no harm in trying.
…presentation because it helps me have better understanding on the statistical front
…the practices/assignments given online because doing the assignments assigned to us on my own made me go through the statistic reading book trying to learn all the formula model.

3. The biggest obstacle for me in my learning the material was… … because…
…the project because it help me understand what to do.
…even when I was stuck on a problem in homework, I could not find the function for the problem on the main website so I have to search elsewhere on the Internet. My other obstacle was trying to keep up in class even when I am feeling behind.
…I'm alone because it allow me to focus more into the work
…trying to figure out which calculation is right for the data, what was I trying to look for, to analyze.
…having a hard problem on understanding all the problems and how to apply them in the real world.
…the presenting PowerPoint presentation part. That's because it is scary to present something you don't really know if it's correct or not since the teacher only corrects your mistakes after your presentation. Plus I don't like talking in front of an audience.
…being reliable.

4. I was most willing to take risks with learning new material when… … because… 
…working on project analysis.
…it is challenging me because I want to challenge myself where my limit is.
…it is a mandatory to learn because it will help me one day in my studies or career.
…learning new things everyday because it helps me have a better understanding of the subject especially its useful in the future.
…there's no family problem relations.

5. During the first day, I remember thinking… … because… 
…of percents and ratios because that was all I know about statistics at the time. As we gone through the term, I realized that statistics are just like scientist but dealing with numbers.
…that the course might be very difficult and boring class because we usually deals with mathematical and equations. But, later on its not what I expected. I found that this class is best course that I've ever had.
…how hard this class is because I know nothing or couldn't remember anything at all. But after the first week things are starting to go in a smooth flow.
…that I will never pass this class because the name/subject of the class (statistics) sounds tough. But it wasn't that tough, because the teacher/classmates were helpful.
…man, I have no idea what are all those because everything was so new and statistically it looks hard

6. What I think I will remember five years from now is… … because… 
…how to make good PowerPoints and the basic statistic reports, because it was taught well and because of the daily assignments.
…is a relationship between two variables. I say I will remember this because just by using basic statistics and a scattered graph, it will clearly show you what you are looking for.
…is basic statistics because I surely believe that I will really need someday if I could able to find a job.
…how to calculate the mean, min, max, sample size, because I believe that I have remember them by heart all thanks to endless homework, for it helped me a lot to learn by heart.
…the solving of all the statistical data and putting them in good use in the real world!
…is identifying relationships of graphs/data because it is the most interesting part of taking statistics, the reading the graphs/charts to find relationship.

7. What is something covered in this course material that you can do now that you could not do or did not fully understand at the beginning of the term? … because… 
I did not know how to use Excel, like the functions and the graphs, but now I can use Excel because I have enough practice with the material.
Now I can do analysis on data and work on statistical report.
One thing that really took me a hard time to understand is the histogram. It is because its hard for me to memorize the steps.
All the formulas and how to get each answer including the graphing. 

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