Jason M. Molesky Assessment and Accountability Coordinator Department of Teaching and Learning Lakeville Area Public Schools
, Star Tribune
On average, stats classes come in handy
- Article by: WILLIAM C. CRUM
- Star Tribune
- May 12, 2012 - 10:46 PM
If studying statistics is for the practical-minded, Jason Molesky is the paragon of practicality.
Molesky oversees testing in Lakeville schools and helps teachers translate test results into strategies for better teaching.
In his previous life as a high school math teacher, Molesky started Lakeville's Advanced Placement statistics program, which has grown from one class in 2000 to enroll about 100 juniors and seniors at Lakeville North and Lakeville South.
Now Molesky has written the 332-page guide, "Strive for a 5: Preparing for the AP Statistics Exam." His first book is a study guide and workbook for students using the popular text "The Practice of Statistics."
For students, a good AP score pays off -- literally -- in college credit. More colleges are requiring stats, and not just in the obvious fields such as the sciences, Molesky said.
"We're living in an extremely data-rich world, and there's a lot of noise out there," he said. "It helps them discern good quality information from information that may be somewhat suspect."
Molesky's book came out in paperback last month; an e-edition is in the works. While awaiting publishing's key statistic -- his Amazon.com rank -- he agreed to field a few questions from the Star Tribune:
QWhat's your favorite anecdote from a student who completed AP stats in Lakeville?
AI've had a number of students who didn't earn the highest grades or pass the AP exam. A number of these students have written to me from college to let me know that, while they weren't the best student in my class, they were now a "stats rock star" in their dorm, breezing through their intro stats course and tutoring other students on their floor.
QTell me something about statistics that makes me laugh out loud.
AForty-two percent of statistics are made up (but only 17 percent of people know that). There's the one about the man who drowned while crossing a river that was only 6 inches deep, on average. Or this one: A statistician stuck his feet in the freezer and his head in the oven and reported, on average, he felt just fine.
QAn election year is to a stats class as (_____) is to (_____).
A An election year is to a stats class as a candy store is to a chocoholic. There are so many great examples of statistics right at your fingertips all year long, from sampling design, to probability, to confidence intervals and inference. Stats teachers can usually find plenty of "real world" examples, but an election year provides us with a wealth of good and bad uses of statistics for our classes.
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