Context: My answers pertain to an introductory statistics course for nonmajors, intermediate algebra pre-requisite. Most recently I've tended to teach psychology and other social science and liberal arts majors in a general education course. Class sizes are capped at 48 and I have probably 2-3 sections of such a course each quarter.
I try to devote up to one class period to answer student questions, though I really try to make sure they bring in the questions instead of me telling them new information (though I'm not always successful). This usually works better during the optional night-before-review sessions I offer. I also give students a set of review problems and post the solutions on-line. Student review questions often center on these review problems. I also give students a review handout. I've recently restructured these to try to be more prescriptive. Instead of "know this and this," I know say, "you should be able to …" and focus more on the skills they need (including what they should be able to explain) and not just mentioning the topic. I should also note that students also take weekly quizzes, typically two before each exam, that I design to include questions similar to what they will see on the exam. This way, students realize that many of the questions will involve explanation and not only (if any at all) calculation. The grading guidelines and feedback on these quizzes should give them information about my expectations for their answers on the exams. Students also have access to model quiz solutions on-line. I also have an online set of multiple choice questions that they have the option of taking before the final.
Context: My comments refer to Mount Holyoke's Stat240: Intro to Design and Analysis of Experiments, which for many students serves as an alternative introductory statistics course. (I teach this regularly, but have taught the "standard" intro course only once in 20 years; in fact that course has existed in our department for only the last four years.)
I usually hold a one-hour review session in preparation for the exam. Typically, I also hand out a copy of the exam from the last time I taught the course. I post solutions to that exam, and hold an optional session to go over the exam with any students who have questions about it.
Context: An introductory statistics class taught in a college of education but serving beginning graduate students in many departments across the university who have never before studied statistics. Typically about 25-30 students in a class.
I like to have students tell me what they have learned in the unit, as a review. For example, I'll ask them: tell me everything you know about bivariate data. Then they tell me what they know and we talk about the different concepts and skills. If there's something missing, I try to give hints so they will think of it. I review during part of the class session before an exam. Sometimes I bring a sample exam to class and students work on that together and we discuss questions they have.
Context: The introductory statistics course in the mathematics department at Cleveland State University (CSU) that I teach generally runs 2-3 sections of 30-45 students in each section with one section offered during the summer. The course prerequisite is a college intermediate algebra course or a suitable score on our mathematics placement exam, although I do not believe that prerequisites are actually checked on our campus. The course is a fifteen week semester with an additional exam week. Cleveland State comes from a legacy of years of teaching on a ten week quarter system, and although we are now on semesters, each course is 4.0 credit hours. The introductory statistics course is generally offered for 65 minutes per class on M-W-F.
Cleveland State University is a comprehensive metropolitan university located in downtown Cleveland. There is only one dormitory on campus, so almost all the students are commuters. In addition, CSU is an open-enrollment institution that accepts every applicant with a high school diploma. The mathematics department where I teach offers a masters degree in mathematics. The general teaching load for each instructor is 8.0 credit hours per semester provided the faculty is active in research in some way.
I could never offer out of class review sessions as students at my commuter campus would scream because I would never be able to schedule a good time for everyone. I do spend about 20 minutes going over an outline of material that will be covered on the in-class exams. I give them a hard copy of this outline so we can go over it more quickly. I used to give the outline as a lecture and I found it took the whole class. I do give students a practice test 2 sessions prior to each in-class exam. I also provide answers to that test the class before the exam. This is a great deal of work and I do not know how helpful it is, but students seem to really want it. I go over any questions from past practice homework or the practice exam in the class prior to the in-class exam. I try to give them as much as resources as I possibly can to succeed. Then when students do poorly I can lay out all the opportunities they had for practice. For the in-class final, I only review the material since the last test and give practice questions since the last test, but I do remind them the final will be cumulative. I then tell them how to organize their notes from the entire semester to help them study for the final.
Context: The type of course: Introductory statistics. Covers contents typical to an introductory statistics course. The majority of students are business majors (75%). The rest are from a variety of departments other than Science & Technology. Most students are junior, age ranging from 20 to 25. They are full time students, but many of them have some part time job. For each semester, we have about 400 to 500 students. Their background is usually weak. Less than 10 percent of students had pre-calculus.
Virtually no class time is spent to review for an exam. Occassionally I offer out of class review sessions, but this is not a norm. There is no review sheet. However, I develop a web site for online exercises. There are a collection of problems with detailed solutions on this online assessment site. Every student can logon and do their practice as many times as they want. The site also collect the duration time each student are on the site. A summary of the frequency of chosen answers are reported. This allows a quick check on how students understand each concept.
The online assessment site is available at anytime. Students are encouraged to do these online problems, but not required.
Context: The 3-hour
statistics classes that I teach involve graduate students (i.e., master's and
My comments below, in boldface type, reflect statistics
courses taught at the introductory, intermediate, and advanced levels. I have
taught graduate-level statistics at the
I do not spend much class time reviewing for an examination. Also, I do not typically hold review sessions. However, I do encourage students (individually or in groups) to come to my office, to e-mail me, or to telephone me at home if they have specific questions. Also, on the first day of class, I tend to give students a practice examination, which consists of a previous actual examination. Students are encouraged but not required to take this "practice test" in their own time.
Context: The comments I gave are based on Stat 130 and stat 217. These are courses primarily for students majoring in liberal arts fields (Stat 130) or social sciences (Stat 217). Class size is usually 45 - 48. Stat 130 is a general education course in statistical literacy, whereas Stat 217 is more of a methods course for students who will continue on to a research methods course in their own discipline.
I don't usually spend any class time reviewing for midterms or the final, but I usually have an optional review session outside of class before the final. At this review session, we work through a series of review problems, which I also make available to students who choose not to attend the review. I do publish a couple of past exams on the class web site, and encourage students to use them to test themselves to see if they are ready for the exam. But, I emphasize that just working the problems on the sample test is NOT a good way of studying for the exam.
Context: My comments apply to a "Stat 101" algebra-based service course for students in humanities and social science majors. I have in mind the Math 121 course at Dickinson and courses such as Stat 130 and Stat 217 at Cal Poly.
I like to spend one class period reviewing for an exam. During this class period I typically present students with an "exam preparation handout" that contains an outline of the material covered on the exam and also suggestions for studying and for taking the exam. I spend some class time going through that outline with them, and I like to leave the remainder of the class period for answering questions from students who have already begin studying. I also usually have some questions and examples in mind to go over, based on areas where students have struggled, in case students do not have enough questions to last for the entire period. I do provide a review sheet to students, and I sometimes but not always provide additional review problems and solutions. Student participation in any review activities is optional.
Context: The course would be the 1st course, audience pretty much anyone.
I usually spend 1 class period reviewing. It's optional but I figure if it's a good review session, students will come to it (and they typically do). I come prepared with remarks and usually discuss the big picture, not going over lots of problems, but rather making connections, and stressing how you start problems given different situations. I typically have a review sheet of the big ideas. Then I leave a few minutes for questions. I never liked totally open question-answer reviews when I was a student (we always spent time on questions I already knew the answers to and never got to my questions) so I don't do them. I hold extra office hours prior to an exam, basically open ended timewise, but I don't do that on the day of the exam. The day of the exam, I take myself out of the loop, or I'll get bombarded with students wanting to learn everything at the last minute. Keeping myself out of the loop the day of the exam helps keep my students holding themselves accountable, I feel.
Context: I taught introductory statistics to
graduate students in a
Learn that they could understand a discipline that involved numbers, if they worked hard.
I also hoped that a few students would really like statistics and recognize its value to them and so decide to take additional statistics courses that were not required. My course assessments, however, were designed to assess the first goal.
As part of the review for the exam, I provided students with example items and a list of the most important concepts covered. We reviewed for about 30 minutes during the class session prior to the exam session. Students were encouraged to ask questions, create their own items, determine what was important, share their five-page exam notes, and anything else they wanted to do or I thought was important, short of actually looking at exam items. Students often came to my office to review work; some worked together to review.