Power of a Test (and other things)

I think the scariest thing about being a first year stats teacher is NOT KNOWING. Not knowing if I’m being effective, not knowing what I can talk about and what I should really spend time on, not knowing if I’m modeling what is expected on the AP test, etc. And wondering what I would make if I had to take the AP test!

Like Power of a test – my book says that students are not required to calculate it on the AP exam (same with geometric distribution). But I’m reviewing with “5 Steps to a 5” this morning and there’s a question on the diagnostic that asks me to calculate the power of a test if I know the probability of a Type II error. I know the answer to this (thank goodness!), but I start wondering, “Can my students answer this?” I know I talked about it, but as we all know that means NOTHING. I go back to dy/dan’s picture of the desk with the hole in it. I can’t get that out of my mind.

I’m also freaking out a little (well, maybe MORE than a little) because I still have 4 chapters to go in YMS 2e and I have, um, 3 weeks left of school (really 2.5). I probably spent more time on some topics than I should have because I knew my students didn’t understand and we did some really in-depth projects (like the mock election and the research papers that came afterwards). I was told my several peers that I needed to continue to push them because it WAS college level course, which I agree. This is one of my major screw ups – not sticking with my timeline. But in the back of my mind, I keep thinking that MAYBE (if I’m lucky) half of my kids will take the AP test for my course and when I do my review sessions in the spring I can cover those missed topics.

I’m looking at Gary Petko’s (from Knoxville) syllabus in my office right now – he covers the entire YMS 2e book in 73 days. WOW. I really need to follow that next year!

I guess that being in a semester long stats class IS like college – but at the same time, I can tell there are SO many gaps in their understanding. It’s like swiss cheese.

But I think in fear and inexperience, I’m also doing something I’ve never done before – letting the book decide what I teach. I am going STRAIGHT by the book in the order that the book presents it. I’ve never done that for any other course I’ve taught. My philosophy has always been that the ideas of the course should scaffold, regardless of how the book presents the material.

So, how long did it take you other stats people to feel like you knew what you were doing?


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