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Inferential statistics and the graphics calculator

Kissane, B. (1998) Inferential statistics and the graphics calculator. In: 3rd Asian Technology Conference on Mathematics, 24 - 28 August 1998, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Japan pp. 111-121.

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Recent teaching and learning of elementary statistics have been influenced by the use of statistical packages on microcomputers, which have permitted data storage and flexible data analysis. Scientific calculators have routinely provided statistical capabilities for some time, but generally they have been too limited to be used as alternatives to computer statistics packages, at least at the undergraduate level. In this paper, graphics calculators are regarded as devices that combine some of the advantages of each of these two kinds of technology for early work in statistics. The first generation of graphics calculators, while providing significant data analysis opportunities, were insufficient for the needs of students of early undergraduate statistics, since the important aspects of inferential statistics were not accessible. Later models include capabilities dealing with hypothesis testing, the construction of confidence intervals and the tabulation of probability distributions. It is suggested that these meet most of the statistical needs of introductory courses. The small size and cost of graphics calculators increase the prospect that individual students will have ready access to them at all times, with significant curriculum implications identified. Programming capabilities of graphics calculators permit student explorations dealing with important concepts in statistical inference to be conducted, some examples of which are described in the paper.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Education
Publisher: Advanced Technology Council in Mathematics
Copyright: 1998 ATCM
Conference Website:
Notes: Appears In: Proceedings of the 3rd Asian Technology Conference on Mathematics: Computer Technology in Mathematical Research and Teaching
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