Statistics Anxiety Group

Group members

Tina Cartwright
Alan Porter
Rosemary Snelgar

The aims of SAP are to explore:

  • the degree of student anxiety towards statistics and towards statistics tests;
  • for those students who do have statistics anxiety, how it affects them in pursuing their Psychology degree;
  • how statistics anxiety is linked to performance in research methods modules;
  • structural models that can explain how the relevant psychological constructs are linked;
  • how anxious students can be helped to manage their anxiety, in order to perform to the best of their ability.

We have used survey instruments to measure a number of constructs linked to statistics anxiety. We measured them in students attending the first year module Research Methods in Psychology; students who wish to participate obtain some time towards the Research Participation Scheme. For this module, we improve the way we deliver material year-on-year, and so we can assess how the changing delivery affects the students. Of course, there may be cohort differences, but this type of design prevents ethical problems that would result from random allocation of students to different material, and also prevents design flaws, such as control group effects, resulting from the type of study.

We are also concerned that students should use the feedback provided by staff on their practical reports to help them improve learning and achievement. We recently used a reflection exercise to compare students who reflected on their feedback with students who reflected on another aspect of the module. We found a difference in their subsequent performance. We intend building on that research.

Recent presentations that members of the group have made:

  • Snelgar, R., Cartwright, T. and Porter, A. (2009) Students' use of feedback in learning how to write psychology research reports. 8th Annual Westminster Learning & Teaching Symposium, June 2009.
  • Porter, A., Snelgar, R. and Cartwright, T. (2006). Teaching Statistics and Research Methods to heterogeneous groups: The Westminster experience. Invited paper at the International Conference on Teaching Statistics (ICOTS), July 2 – 7 http://www.maths.otago.ac.nz/icots7/pages/talk.php?k=3D1
  • Snelgar R., Porter, A. & Cartwright, T. (2005) paper presented to The First International Conference on Enhancing Teaching and Learning through Assessment in the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong SAR, China, June 2005.

Grants obtained by the group:

  • £6507  Development Fund 2003/04
  • £2322  CPD Pedagogical Research Funding 2005/06
  • £2500  Teaching Quality Enhancement Projects 2008/09
  • £1250  CEPLW (as part of Tomorrow’s Leaders project) 2008/09
Group of students in classroom

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