|Kay Lipson (Australia)||firstname.lastname@example.org|
|There has been widespread concern expressed
by members of the statistics education community in the past few years about
the lack of any real understanding demonstrated by many students completing
courses in introductory statistics, particularly in the area of inferential
Traditionally, the concept of sampling distribution has been seen as fundamental to an understanding of introductory statistical inference. As a result many computer packages have been developed which offer activities intended to support the development of this concept. However, we need to recognise that the concept of sampling distribution is complex and multi-faceted, with many different mathematical and symbolic representations possible.
Mathematically, sampling distributions may be defined through either of two alternative statistical arguments, one from a theoretical, random variable perspective and the other from an empirical perspective. Computer simulations of the sampling distribution tend to address only the empirical representation of this concept, and leave the linking of the empirical and theoretical representations to the user. And it is the development of these links which is critical to the development of understanding in statistical inference.
This paper reports some results of a study which analyses the role of the computer based technology in the development of understanding of sampling distribution, makes recommendations concerning the pedagogy and content of introductory statistics courses.
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