NOTICE: The original 30-minute Against All Odds programs have been removed from the bottom of this page (programs #33-58). If you wish to purchase a DVD copy of the original series for 60% off the original price, you can do so by calling 1-800-LEARNER (532-7637). We will continue to sell the original series as long as supplies last.

Produced by Chedd-Angier in collaboration with COMAP. 2013.

ISBN:
1-55946-091-1

A nature preserve tracks bird migrations through New England

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Statistics Web Site

Math Discipline Page

1. What Is Statistics?

Statistics is the art and science of gathering, organizing, analyzing and drawing conclusions from data. And without rudimentary knowledge of how it works, people can't make informed judgments and evaluations of a wide variety of things encountered in daily life. Go to this unit.

A distribution is said to be skewed when the data points cluster more toward one side of the scale than the other. A distribution is positively skewed , or skewed to the right, if the scores fall toward the lower side of the scale and there are very few higher scores. A distribution is negatively skewed , or skewed to the left, if the scores fall toward the higher side of the scale and there are very few low scores. In positively skewed distributions, the mean is usually greater than the median , which is always greater than the mode . In negatively skewed distributions, the mean is usually less than the median, which is always less than the mode.

The main problem isn’t that statistics is hard, it’s that numbers in news reports and medical journals are often presented in confusing ways (just take a look at statistics on any major medical site to see examples). Even government information can be deceptive. In 1995, the UK government warned physicians that the risk of potentially lethal blood clots in the legs had doubled with the advent of new brands of contraceptives. That sounds very alarming until you read that the risk had risen from 1 in 7000 to 2 in 2000. That’s still a relatively low risk factor for a drug.