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   Monday, July 25, 2005  

The blatant cry for help (Now with updates!)

I am really trying to not stress out about this. I'm writing my master's thesis. Since I live 5 hours from the school that I was attending, my professor is not making me meet with her for this. I just have to email her questions and updates or call her if there is a pressing problem that I need an immediate response to. Not a problem.

Yesterday I compiled all the work that I had done. It ammounted to 42 pages of information (the 43rd was waiting to go in, but I needed placement help; as soon as I post this, that page is going in).

There are only two sections that I do not have done. The results and the discussion of the results.

That is where the problem comes in. I have NO clue how to do statistics beyond the mean, median, mode and range. So I'm going to pose the question to you and maybe someone will know.

My hypothesis was that there would be no difference in reading comprhension between students grouped homogeneously by ability and those in heterogeneous ability groups. I've scored the pre-tests and post-tests for both groups. I've found the mean, median, mode and range for each test. But how the hell do I find out if there is a statistical difference between the two? How do I even determine any of that? I am so confused. My professor told me to not worry about it since it's pass/fail and she knows that I'm passing anyway.

But folks, that's just not good enough for me. I'm a bit of an academic -- for crying out loud, I love school so much I became a teacher! -- and I just can't handle leaving it be even though I know that it doesn't matter. I want to do it "right". The thing is, I don't have much time. I have to have this paper done, printed, and shipped to her with a postmark of July 30 -- yes, THIS SATURDAY!

So...if you're lurking and you know even the slightest bit about statistics or know how I can go about finding out how to do this (a link to a statistics for dumbasses website perhaps?) NOW would be the time to delurk and give me a clue. Consider it an early birthday present since this paper is being mailed out the day before my 28th birthday.


As I was panicking about this, I happened to turn to Mr. W and say, Hey, do you think our friend J's wife the calculus teacher knows stats? We both slapped our foreheads for having been so stupid as to overlook this. She has taken not one but four stats classes as a math major. Furthermore, she is certified to teach all levels and subjects of high school math. In short? Major mathematical geek/genius! I explained my dilemma and she was excited about it! She hasn't taught/done stats in a while, so she is viewing this as an exciting and fun challenge that should take her until no later than Wednesday afternoon. She is going to be calling me over the next couple of days with updates on her progress. That will give me until Saturday afternoon to have it all done, printed and shipped the heck out of here never to be thought of again! I could just cry I'm so happy!

   [ posted  @ 5:03 PM ] [ Post a Comment ] [ View Comments (4) ]
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  Comments about my post, "The blatant cry for help (Now with updates!)":
Warning: I'm not a stats expert! This is just what I remember from my biochem major.

I think you need a "student's t test". I can't find a really good explanation online; probably a basic stats book from the library would be easiest. The t test should be in the first chapter or two.

There are two types of t tests, paired and unpaired; paired is if the data sets are related, for example if the two sets of data were about the same set of students. It sounds like your sets are unrelated, so you'd need the unpaired test.

(To do the t test, you'll also need to calculate the standard deviation for both sets. This would also be in a beginning stats book, and the concept is pretty simple.)

Good luck!

Yippee on being almost done with your Masters, having a birthday this weekend, and getting the help that you needed!
Thanks goodness for math geeks in this world. Someone has to love it, right?
That IS a relief. I was distracting myself by worrying about your paper yesterday. Isn't that funny?

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