Thursday, June 11, 2009

New Advances in Graduate Education

One of my friends (who comes from a quantitative-scientific background) is taking a graduate course at my university this summer. She is taking "Statistical Methods in [Social Science Discipline]" taught by a social scientist whose research involves the use of statistical techniques, as carried out by software. She has started taking careful notes to share with her mathematically-inclined friends. (A mutual friend of ours is considering showing up one day just to sit in.)

She reports the following:
  • Instructor has defined the mean as "half the values are above, half the values are below."
  • Instructor gives the following example of median. "Let's say you could have scores of 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 on an exam. The median score would be 3 because that's the one in the middle."
  • Instructor explains the statement "The sum of the deviations is zero," with the following example. "Let's say you have 1, 2, and 3. The mean is 2. The deviations are 2-1 = 1 and 3-2 = 1. When you add those together you get 2. When you subtract that from the mean, you get 0."

When you go to grad school, you learn new things.