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Keywords

Statistics Education, Statistical Literacy, Perceived Usefulness, Introductory Course, Quantitative Reasoning

Abstract

Students’ attitude, including perceived usefulness, is generally associated with academic success. The related research in statistics education has focused almost exclusively on the role of attitude in explaining and predicting academic learning outcomes, hence there is a paucity of research evidence on how attitude (particularly perceived usefulness) impacts students’ intentions to use and stay engaged in statistics beyond the introductory course. This study explored the relationship between college students’ perception of the usefulness of an introductory statistics course, their beliefs about where statistics will be most useful, and their intentions to take another statistics course. A cross-sectional study of 106 students was conducted. The mean rating for usefulness was 4.7 (out of 7), with no statistically significant differences based on gender and age. Sixty-four percent reported that they would consider taking another statistics course, and this subgroup rated the course as more useful (p = .01). The majority (67%) reported that statistics would be most useful for either graduate school or research, whereas 14% indicated their job, and 19% were undecided. The “undecided” students had the lowest mean rating for usefulness of the course (p = .001). Addressing data, in the context of real-world problem-solving and decision-making, could facilitate students to better appreciate the usefulness and practicality of statistics. Qualitative research methods could help to elucidate these findings.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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