Herb Weisberg


Milo Schield, Editor

Authors Popular StatLit News Authors-Academic Statistical Literacy Numeracy Statistical Reasoning

Statistical Inference for Managers.  Milo Schield. ASA JSM 6up 1up

Added StatLit.org webpage for Jerome Cornfield.

The Improbability Principle: Why Coincidences, Miracles, and Rare Events Happen Every Day by David Hand. TOC:1 The Mystery; 2 A Capricious Universe; 3. What is Chance? 4 The Law of Inevitability; 5 The Law of Truly Large Numbers; 6 The Law of Selection; 7 The Law of the Probability Lever; 8 The Law of Near Enough; 9 The Human Mind; 10 Life, the Universe and Everything; 11 How to Use the Improbability Principle.

What is wrong with THE Introductory Statistics Course.  Schield USCOTS 2015.   Statistical Literacy roundtable

New classroom video:  Statisticians: Making our World a Better Place.  Schield 2015 USCOTS.  4.5 minutes

April 29: Congratulations go to Tyler VanderWeele, winner of the 2015 ASA “Causality in Statistics Education Award” for his book “Explanation in Causal Inference” (Oxford, 2015). The award ceremony will take place at the 2015 JSM conference, August 8-13, in Seattle. Another good news, Google has joined Microsoft in sponsoring next year’s award, so please upgrade your 2016 nominations. For details of nominations and selection criteria, see www.amstat.org/education/causalityprize/.   Source: www.mii.ucla.edu/causality/?m=201504

Aug 4.   "Willful Ignorance" by Herb Weisberg (picture above) is now available!!  [Editor:  This book is my #1 pick for 2014.]   Weisberg's grasp of statistical history is comprehensive without being over-whelming.  But this is more than just a history book on statistics.  Weisberg has a point to make -- that statisticians have mis-measured uncertainty!  And this mis-measurement involves "willful ignorance"!!!   These are fighting words for statisticians who consider the proper measurement of uncertainty to be their primary task.  For more details on Herbert Weisberg, visit his page.    If you buy one statistics book this year, buy this one!  Amazon US

Two Big Ideas for Teaching Big Data: Coincidence and Confounding by Milo Schield. ECOTS invited paper downloaded 4,200 times in the seven months it has been posted in 2014.   See also Schield slides presented at Big Data panel.

"I hope that...statistical literacy will...rise to the top of your advocacy list"  Ruth Carver, ASA 2012 Presidential Address

29% of US Freshman took stats in high school (15% took AP Stats), so 14% took non-AP Stats. 2012 Am. Freshman

Spurious Correlations (More than 9,000 computer-generated as of 5/2014): For example: Number of people who died by becoming tangled in their bed sheets correlates with Total revenue generated by skiing facilities (US).  [Great examples, but a high correlation coefficient between two times series does not imply statistical significance -- much less a causal connection. See Cross-correlation.  Editor]

2014 10: Highest Monthly Downloads: October had 45,000 downloads from this site: the highest number in our ten-year history. Last year's monthly  high was 26,000 in May.  The biggest cause is the download of the the PowerPoint demos to create various statistics and models using Excel: over 67,000 YTD.  The "Create-Lognormal-Excel2013" demo has had 36,000 downloads so far this year.

2014 11: Highest Monthly Index Views @ StatLit.org:  November had 6,200 index views -- 33% more than last year's monthly high.

Judea Pearl (above) sponsors ASA Causality in Statistical Education Award. The committee is pleased to announce that a gift from Microsoft Research will enable the prize to double in 2015. A $10,000 prize or two $5,000 prizes will awarded this year. For additional information about the award, see the 2012 announcement, the 2013 winner and the 2014 winner. Nominations and questions should be sent to the ASA office at educinfo@amstat.org. The nomination deadline is February 15, 2015. Visit www.amstat.org/education/causalityprize/ for nomination information.


"Statistical literacy is the ability to read and interpret summary statistics in the everyday media: in graphs, tables, statements, surveys and studies.   Statistical literacy is needed by data consumers – students in non-quantitative majors: majors with no quantitative requirement such as political science, history, English, primary education, communications, music, art and philosophy. About 40% of all US college students graduating in 2003 had non-quantitative majors."    By Milo Schield in "Assessing Statistical Literacy: Take CARE" Ch 11 in Assessment Methods in Statistical Education, pp. 133-152.  Wiley 2010  Schield excerpts

Short introduction to Statistical Literacy.  For more on confounding, see Standardizing.

UK Parliament Briefing paper on Statistical Literacy

Statistical literacy: "the ability to read and interpret statistics, and think critically about arguments that use statistics as evidence"  United Nations Development Dictionary (move slider to "s") [link broken/missing in 2012]

Statistical literacy: "understanding the basic language of statistics (e.g., knowing what statistical terms and symbols mean and being able to read statistical graphs), and understanding some fundamental ideas of statistics." GAISE College Report 


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Yearly highlights of grants, new books, conference papers (ICOTS, ISI, JSM, JMM), and events involving statistical literacy. 


Newest StatLit.org web pages: 


If you read just one article, read Challenging the state of the art in post-introductory statistics by Tintle, Chance, Cobb, Rossman, Roy, Swanson and VanderStoep. 


"By introducing confounding as 'one of the two major themes in statistical analysis' this paper is arguably the most important paper in statistical education since 2002 when Howard Wainer publicized 'The BK-Plot: Making Simpsons' Paradox Clear to the Masses'.  The Wainer and Tintle papers mark a new beginning of statistics education for the 21st century."  Milo Schield, StatLit Editor



01  Challenge Statistical Claims in Media, Martinez-Dawson ASA 2013

2015 SLIDES and WORKSHEETS HOSTED (by month)

07  2013 MSMESB: MS Business Analytics program.  Nargundkar.    slides



12  AMSTAT: Causality in Statistics Education Award 2013. ASA News

12  Most stat analysis not done by statisticians Simply Statistics 2013

12  Simpson's Paradox in Psychological Science by Kievit et al. 2013.

12  Statistical Literacy Explained by Hewson, Teaching Statistics, 2013

12  Headlines in a Math-Literate World by Orlin, Huffington Post, 2013

12  RSS GetStats Statistical Literacy Campaign and Initiatives. 2014

12  SIGMAA-QL 2013 Newsletter.   Bennet: Writing for general public.

11  Call for Statistical Literacy papers. 2014 Stat-Ed Research Jrnl.

11  Relative Risk Cutoffs for Statistical Significance. Schield 2014

10  SRTL-9 Proposal: Informal Doorways to Modeling. Schield  2014

09  Limitations and Uses of Convenience Samples Kriska et al. ASA 2013

09  Seeing how Statistical Significance is Contextual.  Schield 2003.

08  Simpson's Paradox #30 Classic Problems in Probability. Gorroochurn

08  Simon Schild Maps: Bellenberg Germany & Benton County IA. 2014

08  Schild Family journey from Bellenberg Germany to America. 2002

07  2013 MSMESB/DSI Annual Report by Robert Andrews

07  Odyssey: Lifelong Statistical Literacy Schield 2014 ICOTS  slides
05  Two Big Ideas for Teaching Big Data  Schield ECOTS 2014  slides

04  Teaching Big Data at Georgetown. Sigman et al. Decision Line 2014

03  Augsburg TIDES Proposal: Summary AACU Schield 2014 Full proposal

02  Augsburg's NSF Proposal: Summary.  Schield 2014 Full

01  Visualization of Economic Indicators. Thompson+Wallace. ASA 2013.

01  Fusion & causal analysis in big marketing data.  Mandel ASA 2013

01  Check Distributional Assumption: Benford’s Law. Goodman  ASA 2013

01  Challenge Statistical Claims in Media, Martinez-Dawson ASA 2013

2014 SLIDES and WORKSHEETS HOSTED (by month)

11  Business Analytics and Data Science. Schield DSI 2014 slides

10  Statistical Literacy+Coincidence. Schield NNN1 Workshop 2014 slides
10  Explore Log-Normal Incomes Schield NNN2 2014 Slides xls  Update

10  Creating Distributions Empirically. M. Schield. NNN3 Workshop Slides

10  Statistically-Significant Correlations. Milo Schield. NNN4 2014 Slides

10  Segmented Linear Regression. Schield. NNN5 Workshop 2014 Slides

08  Top 30 Learning Goals for Introductory Sociology. Persell  2010  List

08  Social Science Reasoning & QL Learning Goals Caulfield+Persell'06List

07  2013 MSMESB: Predictive Analytics course. Levine et al.         slides

07  2013 MSMESB: Spreadsheet Analytics. James R. Evans.          slides

07  2013 MSMESB: Implications of Big Data for Stat Ed. Berenson  slides

07  2013 MSMESB: Big Data & Statistics Instruction. Berenson      slides

07  2013 MSMESB: Big Data in Stat 101: Small changes. McKenzie slides

07  2013 MSMESB: Create Business Analytics class. Kirk Karawan.  slides

07  2013 MSMESB: Getting Analytics into the curriculum. Karawan. slides

07  2013 MSMESB: Analytics and the Evolving Workforce. LaBarr.   slides

07  2013 MSMESB: MS Business Analytics program.  Nargundkar.    slides


Top 20 Downloads of Papers (or slides if no paper):
7,860 Percentage Graphs in USA Today Schield 2006 ASA. Total 100,052
7,043 Responsible Stats...to Shape Public Opinion by A Nelson 6up 2011
4,602 Two Big Ideas for Teaching Big Data Schield 2014 ECOTS [**May]
3,769 Framework for Interpreting Tables & Graphs  Kemp & Kissane 2010
3,172 Statistical Literacy in Adult College Students B. Wade 2009 Thesis
2,891 Quantitative Scholarship: From Literacy to Mastery U.Texas 2009
2,696 Statistical Literacy: A New Mission for Data Producers Schield '11
2,625 Interpreting the Cumulative Frequency Distribution Winkler 2009
2,613 Check Distributional Assumption: “Benford’s Law”  Goodman 2013
2,596 Likert & Visual Analog Scales Tom Knapp 2013
2,578 Presenting Confounding Graphically via Standardization Schield '06
Practical Approach to Intro Poli-Sci Statistics Course Klass 2004
2,173 To Pool or Not to Pool by Tom Knapp 2013
1,503 Statistical Literacy Guide.  Bolton, UK  2009
1,466 Teaching Statistical Literacy by Haack 1978, Teaching Statistics

1,289 Statistical Literacy Curriculum Design.  Schield, 2004 IASE Sweden
1,138 The Undetectable Difference: The “Problem” of p-Values. Goodman 
1,055 Developing a Test of Normality in the Classroom Jernigan 2012 ASA
1,054 Substantive significance of regression coefficients. Miller 2008 ASA
   991 Assessing Students’ Attitudes by Millar & Schau  2010 ASA.

Top Downloads of Excel-Related Slides (All by Schield)

1   37,203 Create lognormal in Excel 2013. 6up 1up Demo

2.    7,278 Model Logistic Regression using Excel 2013. 6up 1up

3.    6,117 Using the Z-test function in Excel 2008   6up 1up

4.    4,008 COUNTIF histograms: Excel 2013 6up 1up demo

5.    3,905 Confidence intervals with Excel 2010   Slides   Demo Output

6.    2,577 T-Test command with Excel 2013   6up 1up

7.    2,475 Trendline 2Y1X with different scales.   6up  1up

8.    1,900 Create Pivot Tables using Excel 2008  6up 1up

9.     1,563 Using the T-Test function in Excel 2008.   6up 1up

10       508 Regress 3 Factor using Linear Trendline Excel 2013  6up 1up

11       466 Create lognormal distribution Excel 2008. 6up 1up  Output

12       273 Model using Linear Trendline in Excel 2013. 6up 1up


















  1. Percentage Graphs in USA Today. Milo Schield 2006 ASA Proceedings. 

  2. Statistical Literacy: Uses & Abuses of Numbers by Andrew Nelson 6up 

  3. Presenting Confounding Graphically Using Standardization by Milo Schield. 2006 STATS magazine. 

  4. Statistical Literacy: A New Mission for Data Producers by Milo Schield.  2011 SJIAOS

  5. Univ. Texas San Antonio: Quantitative Scholarship - Final Draft    Press release 2009

  6. Statistics for Political Science Majors. Gary Klass 2004 ASA


  • Victor Cohn (1989), News and Numbers

  • Darrell Huff (1954), How To Lie with Statistics

  • Edward Tufte (1995), Visual Explanations




S/L Books

Q/L Books


Q/L Texts



W. M. Keck Statistical Literacy Project

Web-accessible articles presenting a general background or overview.

Statistical Literacy:


Quantitative Literacy:

Thirteen articles involving the W. M. Keck Statistical Literacy Project:


  •  Making Sense of Statistics by Nigel Hawkes and Leonor Sierra. Section 1: If a statistic is the answer, what was the question?  Section 2: Common pitfalls.  Section 3: How sure are we?  Section 4: Percentages and risk; knowing the absolute and relative changes.  


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  • 2015 Fall:  Updating the GAISE College Guidelines   Committee chaired by Michelle Everson.

  • 2015 Aug 3:  RSS Statistics for Journalists Training.    Storyboard

  • 2015 July 19: Added StatLit.org webpage for Jerome Cornfield.

  • 2015 Jun 21:  Lynn Steen, RIP.  Obituary

  • 2015 June 9: RSS: Call for Grant Ideas.  Submit by July 31, 2015.

  • 2015 May 11: Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics by Richard H. Thaler

  • 2015 Apr 28:  Statistics: P values are just the tip of the iceberg by Leek & Peng in Nature.  "In practice, decisions that are made earlier in data analysis have a much greater impact on results — from experimental design to batch effects, lack of adjustment for confounding factors, or simple measurement error. Arbitrary levels of statistical significance can be achieved by changing the ways in which data are cleaned, summarized or modelled."

  • 2015 Apr 25: Are You Smarter than an 8th Grader?  Nicholas Kristof.  "I believe American high schools and colleges overemphasize calculus and don’t sufficiently teach statistics. Statistical literacy should be part of every citizen’s tool kit." Copy

  • 2015 Apr 11: Statistical Literacy online course for teachers (no credit):  May 11-June 29. Syllabus, Textbook and Registration

  • 2015 Mar 18: The first crack in the wall of significance testing by Simon Oxenham.  See Cummings "Dance of the P-values"

  • 2015 March:  "LOCUS has developed a series of assessments designed to measure statistical literacy." "LOCUS addresses the assessment component of the [GAISE] framework to provide items that assess statistical literacy in the spirit of GAISE." LOCUS: Levels of Conceptual Understanding in Statistics.   Amstat news March p. 35. Content: "Emphasis on Practice and Process of Statistical Problem Solving: Formulating Statistical Questions & Collecting Data (40%) Analyzing Data and Interpreting Results (60%). LOCUS Assessments (two versions) Register at http://locus.statisticsEducation.org for an account and start using the assessments today.  Funded by NSF in 2011 with $2.1 million.

  • 2015 Feb 25: Psychology Journal Bans Significance Testing by Steven Novella.  See Cummings "Dance of the P-values"

  • 2015 Feb 19:  10 Modern Statistical Concepts Discovered by Data Scientists by Granville. "Here we highlight 11 major data science contributions to statistical science. I am not aware of any statistical science contribution to data science, but if you know one, you are welcome to share."

  • 2015 Feb 12: BASP is Banning NHSTP by Trafimow and Marks.

  • 2015 Jan 28:  Bob Hayden's Review of Presenting Data.

  • 2015 Jan 15: Your demand for statistical proof is racist. Candice Lanius in Cyborgology. "A demand for statistical proof is blatant distrust of someone’s lived experience." Copy

IMS             UPCOMING PROFESSIONAL EVENTS             Statistics

  • 2016 May 16-20:  ECOTS 16.  Announcement Call for proposals #1

  • 2016 July 19-22: IASE Roundtable Conference (Invited). Held at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development (MPIB) in Berlin, Germany.  "About 40-50 folks from around the world and the host country will work together on a unique theme: “Promoting understanding of statistics about society“. The Roundtable aims to advance current knowledge about ways to improve the understanding of data and statistics related to key social phenomena." Program Theme & papers Submission Guidelines About Local Schield proposal.

  • 2016 July 24-31:  ICME13. Start planning for the 13th International Congress on Mathematical Education (ICME13), July 24-31, 2016, Hamburg Germany. (FYI, just before ICME13, IASE plans a Roundtable in Berlin.  Topic Study Groups: TSG14 (Teaching and learning of Probability), TSG15 (Teaching and learning of Statistics), TSG23 (Mathematical Literacy). Also look at TSG6 (Adult lifelong learning of mathematics) and TSG3 (Mathematics education in and for work). Deadline for submission of papers for TSGs = Oct 1, 2015


QL = Q/L = Quantitative Literacy,   QR = Q/R = Quantitative Reasoning,    S/L = SL = Statistical Literacy,     S/R = SR = Statistical Reasoning

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