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Speakers explain real-life statistics; Hamilton students take on research of their own

Hamilton High School students in Penny Komatz’s statistics class learned about the importance data plays in guiding institutions to make policy decisions, how it can be collected and the difficulty involved with ensuring it is reliable. Komatz invited three guest speakers to present real life experiences involving statistics to her class.

Hamilton School District Superintendent spoke about how the district uses data to make curricular and facilities decisions, the importance of understanding whether data is statistically significant, questions administrators ask when given data and the impact that “No Child Left Behind” legislation will have on school data collections.

The district’s public information and volunteer program coordinator, Denise Dorn Lindberg, spoke about the history of conducting a community survey, the importance of selecting a representative, scientifically-selected sample, the pros an cons of involving students in collecting data and how survey data helped determine which facility projects were on the 2002 building referendum.

Scott Segrin, Advantage Research vice president of operations, spoke about the marketing research that his Germantown company conducts and the design process involved. He described the types of businesses his company serves, various sampling methods, the difference between censusing and sampling, trade-offs with sampling methods, sources of samples, the sampling design process and reasons political polls yield different results. He also discussed careers that exist in a marketing research company and the educational background required to pursue them.

Think you know about Hamilton High School students and staff? Komatz’s students are required to apply principles of sound methodology as they sample their fellow students and teachers. Below are some of the finding of the first-semester class:

  • Junior girls do not have a preference concerning the gender of their teachers.
  • A majority of Hamilton teachers were born in Wisconsin, received their undergraduate teaching degrees from a University of Wisconsin System college and prefer to spend their free time reading rather than watching television or surfing.
  • Favorites among Hamilton students are the color blue, Mountain Dew soda, football as a spectator sport and the season of summer.
  • Students rate Costume Day as their favorite spirit day during Homecoming Week;
  • About half of Hamilton students are dog owners.
  • More than 70 percent of Hamilton teachers participated in a sport when they were in high school.
  • Hamilton students prefer peanut butter M&Ms to plain, almond, peanut or crunch varieties.
  • Most Hamilton students do not have brown eyes.
  • As high school students themselves, most Hamilton teachers had career aspirations in science-related fields besides teaching.
  • Hamilton teachers prefer to watch football as compared to basketball.