Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Math Invades Psychology Class

Frequency Histogram for Composite Scores on Final Exam
 Students tend to have strong feelings about mathematics...so when the topic comes up in AP Psych I usually get a "love it" or "hate it" reaction from students. Regardless of one's emotional response to math, however, it is helpful to know some basic statistical concepts if you're trying to make sense of some things in psychology, particularly test score interpretation (e.g. in intelligence and personality testing).

So, in addition to the practice on basic descriptive statistics students are completing for tomorrow (to access the accompanying PsychSim Module for this WS, click here), we've been using some meaningful examples of score distributions to become more comfortable with the topic. Particularly, we've been examining performance data from our 1st Semester final (which, as the frequency histogram above illustrates, distribute rather normally).

However, if you're still feeling confused about z-scores, the normal curve, percentile ranks, and standard deviation, there are a number of great websites out there to give you some guidance (unfortunately, our text does not go into a great amount of detail about these statistical concepts). Consider consulting any of these for review:
If you come across any other sites that you feel would be helpful to a beginning psych student, please include them in the comments section. I'd love to add them to my list.

No comments:

Post a Comment