Results of analysis of responses to a first-year undergraduate engineering activity are presented. Teams of students were asked to develop a procedure for quantifying the roughness of a surface at the nanoscale, which is typical of problems in Materials Engineering where qualities of a material need to be quantified. Thirty-five teams were selected from a large engineering course for analysis of their responses. The results indicate that engagement in the task naturally led teams to design a sampling plan, use or design measures of center and variability, and integrate those measures into a model to solve the stated problem. Team responses revealed misunderstandings that students have about measures of center and variability. Implications for instruction and future research are discussed. (Contains 4 tables and 2 figures.)


This is the publisher pdf of *Hjalmarson, M.A., Moore, T.J., & delMas, R. (2011). Statistical analysis when the data is an image: Eliciting student thinking about sampling and variability. Statistics Education Research Journal, 10(1), 15-34 and is available at: http://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ925275.


College Freshmen, Engineering, Laboratories, Learning Activities, Development, Laboratory Procedures, Measurement, Molecular Structure, Differences, Sampling, Models, Statistical Analysis, Mathematical Concepts, Student Attitudes

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