The most mature of the data sciences, statistics provides the path to turn data into knowledge because of its sophisticated methods for statistical inference, prediction, uncertainty quantification, experimental design, and communication. Students and faculty across campus are recognizing and responding to the increasing importance of statistics by increasing demands for training in statistics. This includes not only the traditional introductory statistics courses in the classic models and methods, but sophisticated advanced courses specialized to specific kinds of data, problems, and applications.
Evolution of the Statistics Curriculum and Supporting Effort
We developed a two-pronged response to meet campus needs that we call Pathways to Understanding and MAstery of Statistics (PUMAS). The overarching goal of PUMAS is to extend accessibility to training in statistics to all students at Colorado State University.
The first dimension of PUMAS is to arrange the statistics curriculum in such a way that there are entrance points into the curriculum for students of all backgrounds and preparation and subsequent pathways through the statistics curriculum that enable students of all backgrounds to continue studies as long as desired. In order to pursue this goal, Statistics is dedicated to providing conditions that support student success in Statistics courses at all levels.
The second dimension of PUMAS is a significant redesign of the statistics curriculum with the goals of increasing understanding of statistical methodology and applicability, improving discussion of the conditions under which statistical models and methods work and do not work, increasing availability of courses on advanced approaches for complex applications, and improving the training in appropriate statistical computing we provide. In this dimension, we aim to meet the American Statistical Association’s (ASA) 2016 Guidelines for Assessment and Instruction in Statistics (GAISE) recommendations.
Addressing Student Success
Statistics has implemented specific strategies for improving conditions for student success in specific parts of the curriculum. But overarching strategies include:
- Adopting the American Statistical Association’s (ASA) 2016 Guidelines for Assessment and Instruction in Statistics (GAISE) recommendations for statistics course content and goals.
- Reducing maximum course sizes to the largest size consistent with strong student success at each level.
- Offering supplemental materials to support student self-study.
- Implementing active learning techniques, where appropriate and feasible.
- Providing fine-grained course content to match student interests and needs in multiple fields.
- Offering video-delivered course that reduce demands for students to physically attend lectures at the graduate level.
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