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Speakers explain real life statistics to Hamilton students

Hamilton High School students in Penny Komatz’s statistics class learned how individuals collect data that affect decisions in education and business. Komatz invited three guest speakers to present real life experiences involving statistics to her class.

Hamilton School District Superintendent Kathleen Cooke, Ph.D., spoke Jan. 27. She addressed: using quantitative data, such as test scores, to drive curriculum and policy changes; viewing statistics as snapshots and looking for the trends; avoiding generalizations based on one year’s data; understanding the role statistics play in federal “No Child Left Behind” legislation; and recognizing society’s desire to compare statistics.

The district’s public information and volunteer program coordinator, Denise Dorn Lindberg, spoke Feb. 17 about conducting surveys with students, parents and community members. She explained methodology used to collect reliable data with a stratified random sample. She discussed future potential difficulties of telephone sampling given the prevalence of cell phones, unlisted phone numbers and expectations in light of “Do Not Call” lists.

Advantage Research Vice President of Operations Scott Segrin spoke Feb. 19 to the class about sampling method advantages and disadvantages. Segrin described issues market researchers face such as obtaining a ‘perfect’ sample versus containing costs, contacting individuals who don’t want to be bothered and the pervasiveness of unlisted phone numbers. He described companies that use Advantage Research services, the data they request and costs involved with conducting market research.