Community-Based Learning Versus Traditional Courses In Statistics: Who Takes Them And Why

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American Statistician


I compare students in two different data analysis courses: one course included a community-based learning (CBL) component and one did not. I find that students who chose to take the CBL course were more likely to have less mathematical and statistical background (as measured by the number of college-level mathematics and statistics courses and self-reporting), were more interested in community service, and wanted a statistics course that aligned closely with their career goals and aspirations. In comparison, students in the more traditional course had stronger mathematical and statistical skills, were more interested in a traditional course where they learned the methods from a variety of “case-studies,” and had less time for and interest in a community project. The results of the comparison suggest that there is a place for both CBL and traditional courses and that students tend to appropriately self-select into the course that meets their needs. CBL courses may also be a good place to draw in students who might otherwise not choose to take a data analysis course in college.

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