Sunday, October 10, 2010

violations of homoscedascity

It's a beautiful Sunday. The leaves are starting to change, the air is crisp but not cold, the sun is shinning, and I am sitting at my desk surrounded by Stats study materials, staring out at the window.

The mere fact that I had to take a statistics class filled me with dread when I applied for the Doctorate program. Then I found out I'll take a total of 4 Stats classes, if not more, before I'm finished with this thing. That seems like a long, long way away.

Until last Tuesday I actually thought it was going along well. I am was ridiculously impressed by my professor. Unlike many professors she actually embodies much of what we know is good instruction. She repeats herself frequently, provides visuals, gives us mnemonics, tells stories, gives us the right amount of guided practice so we can apply what we know. She clearly isn't just in this for her personal research- and she's not just standing in front of the classroom delivering information- she's teaching. She is dedicated to making sure we know this stuff. And, until Tuesday, I thought that was a great thing.
I'd leave class each week feeling like I understood statistics- something I never really had any hope that I'd understand. Other than the problem that I get distracted by her wardrobe and frequently wonder where she purchased her cute clothes, I felt like I was on top of it because of her teaching. Even her course objectives are written like IEP goals:
"Given a frequency distribute table, locate or calculate range, apparent limits, real/exact limits, interval width, and midpoints."
I know exactly what is expected- I can check off the objectives one by one to determine whether or not I'm on track.
Wow, how refreshing, I found myself thinking every Tuesday evening as I walked back to the metro- a professor who understands how people learn and how to teach so that students truly internalize the information. This is brilliant. This is what I need to survive stats.

Then last Tuesday rolled around and she explained our upcoming midterm. She's not giving us a midterm where we can plug and chug formulas and numbers. She's not giving us a midterm where we can write definitions to show our knowledge. It's not even just word problems. There are essays. Essays to prove that we understand the concepts behind the numbers.
Because, she explained, of Bloom's taxonomy.
Bloom's taxonomy.
I've only heard Bloom's taxonomy explained in a college class because we were being told to use it as teachers. I've never seen it actually applied. I've never had a professor say that he or she was basing questions off of Bloom's taxonomy so he or she would know whether or not we truly conceptualized and could apply the information instead of just being able to define or calculate the information.

Stupid professor with her stupid understanding of how people learn and how to make sure her students truly internalize the information.

I can give definitions.
I can plug numbers into equations.
I can answer word problems.

I have no idea why any of it works. I don't know why we put the numbers into the equations. I can tell you that homoscedascity has been violated- but I can't tell you the concept behind why it exists.

No one has ever asked that of me in a math class before.

I continue to be impressed with my professor, but I now have moved on to resentment of her desire to fill me with a true understanding of stats. Because it is a beautiful day, the leaves are starting to change, the air is crisp but not cold, and I am sitting here contemplating what is occurring when  least squares regression is used, but I am pretty sure that after this weekend I will understand linear regression like I've never understood any other math in my entire life.


On another note, apparently doctorate students are just like 4th graders- they google their teachers. The other day a few of my classmates told me they'd googled our professor and were telling everyone what they'd found. None of it was shocking, it was what you'd get if you googled any 30 year old. (Yeah, 30, at least that's how old I think she is now that I too have googled her.) So maybe it's not just 4th graders who are shocked that their teachers have a life outside of school.

1 comment:

magpie said...

This helps me understand that quote about teaching as if you were looking through a microscope or conversely, looking through a telescope.
My head hurts:-(