This is the program for the 2010 Joint Statistical Meetings in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Abstract Details

Activity Number: 478
Type: Contributed
Date/Time: Wednesday, August 4, 2010 : 8:30 AM to 10:20 AM
Sponsor: Section on Statistical Education
Abstract - #306507
Title: The Social Construction of Rankings
Author(s): Milo Schield*+
Companies: Augsburg College
Address: , Minneapolis, MN, 55127,
Keywords: statistical literacy

Rankings are common in the news. Superlatives abound: best, most, biggest, tallest and highest. How meaningful are these rankings? How can one assess the objectivity in a ranking? This paper examines ten factors involved in the social construction of rankings. One of these, the choice of the context or competition, is very powerful yet is often ignored. The goal is to help the reader become more aware of the different kinds of choices involved in constructing a ranking. This paper upholds the Thomas-Sewell (2008) thesis that the education of statisticians should cover the social construction of statistics and the Allen-Sharep (2005) recommendation that students should be educated on the dangers in ranking. Rankings should be used in Statistical Literacy to show students how easily everyday statistics are socially constructed.

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