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The Homeless average age 9? Examining a bad statistic

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Abstract:

In December 2007, a commencement speaker cited a figure that drew gasps from the audience: "The average age of a homeless person is nine." Surprised, I looked into the claim, which turned out to be untrue. That said, this seemed like a great class example for an Introductory Statistics course; ask the students to research the number, discuss their discovered answer, then examine how the error was made and propogated. In the first attempt, some parts of this lesson succeeded, while others, well, did not. This talk will discuss the problem and lessons learned, as an example of how to better integrate real life claims into first courses in statistics.
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Name: The Mathematical Association of America MathFest
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http://www.maa.org


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p274780_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Molnar, Adam. "The Homeless average age 9? Examining a bad statistic" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the The Mathematical Association of America MathFest, TBA, Madison, Wisconsin, Jul 28, 2008 <Not Available>. 2013-12-14 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p274780_index.html>

APA Citation:

Molnar, A. , 2008-07-28 "The Homeless average age 9? Examining a bad statistic" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the The Mathematical Association of America MathFest, TBA, Madison, Wisconsin <Not Available>. 2013-12-14 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p274780_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: In December 2007, a commencement speaker cited a figure that drew gasps from the audience: "The average age of a homeless person is nine." Surprised, I looked into the claim, which turned out to be untrue. That said, this seemed like a great class example for an Introductory Statistics course; ask the students to research the number, discuss their discovered answer, then examine how the error was made and propogated. In the first attempt, some parts of this lesson succeeded, while others, well, did not. This talk will discuss the problem and lessons learned, as an example of how to better integrate real life claims into first courses in statistics.

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