Forget Calculus; Focus on Statistics

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Genmai, Nov 23, 2010.

  1. Genmai

    Genmai Companion

    Jun 15, 2009
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    Nov 23, 2010

  3. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

    Mar 3, 2008
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    Nov 24, 2010

    I absolutely agree. I always recommend to my kids that they go the AP Stats route instead of AP Calc unless they are planning on science/engineering/math in their future. I was part of the first class in our district to take Stats and it has done me no end of good since.
  4. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

    Nov 5, 2007
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    Nov 24, 2010

    The problem with that, however, is that a true understanding of statistics requires calculus. Basic probability and tests concerning discrete distributions can be taught without calculus, and we can provide charts for probabilities for some common continuous distributions. But a true, AP level stats requires being able to integrate functions, and that's Calc 2, at least. I can't think of another set of courses in my entire education where I used multi-variable calculus to anywhere near the extent I used it in my stats courses. And that's Calc 3 (the way most places break it up).

    I do agree; however, that a 4th year of math should be required in HS, and that it should be either the content equivalent of business Calculus or the type of stats class that's generally offered to psychology majors.

    ETA: I feel that the type of content taught in a Business Calculus course should be considered fundamental math skills. I believe that I use the concepts of basic integral and differential calculus MORE in understanding the world around me than any other course content before it.
  5. Soccer Dad

    Soccer Dad Cohort

    Nov 8, 2008
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    Nov 27, 2010

    I took stat in college and I have to say, it's helped me tremendously. I'm not math inclined at all, but I did fairly well in stat. I'm not kidding when I say that I love reading a newspaper article that includes stats (whether it's about Obama's healthcare plan or the test scores for NY), I always look to see where the misleading information is and whether confounding/lurking variables were considered.

    I always tell my students to look at an article closely when things are compared. For instance, articles LOVE stating that American schools don't perform as well as European high school. Uh, no duh--every high school student in America is entitled to an education, from the geniuses to the burnouts. In Europe, one must apply to a high school and be accepted.

    I'm sure calculus is important (never took it) but I can personally speak for stat. I know in my high school, AP stat is offered to all sophomores, juniors and seniors. Sophomores are enrolled in either geometry or trig, juniors either trig or pre-calc and seniors are in either pre-calc or reg pre-calc. (Seniors can't do both AP calc and stat as both are two periods/day.)

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