Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mathematics and Statistics

Committee Chair(s)

Kady Schneiter


Kady Schneiter


Brynja Kohler


Yan Sun


John Stevens


Patricia Moyer-Packenham


Many educational researchers have proposed teaching statistics with less lecture and more active learning methods. However, there are only a few comparative studies that have taught one section of statistics with lectures and one section with activity-based methods; of those studies, the results are contradictory. To address the need for more research on the actual effectiveness of active learning methods in introductory statistics, this research study was undertaken.

An introductory, university level course was divided into two sections. One section was taught entirely with traditional lecture. The other section was taught using active learning methods and a minimal amount of lecture. Both sections were taught by the same instructor during the same semester. The experiment was repeated the next semester.

Students' exam scores were analyzed to determine if the activity-based teaching approach led to higher student comprehension and understanding of statistical concepts, and the ability to apply statistical procedures. Surveys were also administered to students to ascertain if the lecture or activity-based approach led to higher, more positive student attitudes toward statistics.

Analysis of the data did not show that the activity-based teaching method led to higher student comprehension or procedural ability. Neither teaching method led to significantly higher student attitudes. Student comments indicated a positive response to the activity-based methods, but the responses also indicated a student desire for more teacher-centered time in the activity course.



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Mathematics Commons