JSM 2011 Online Program

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Abstract Details

Activity Number: 522
Type: Contributed
Date/Time: Wednesday, August 3, 2011 : 10:30 AM to 12:20 PM
Sponsor: Section on Statistical Education
Abstract - #301410
Title: Is the T-Test Really Dead? Part 2
Author(s): Paul Velleman*+ and Richard De Veaux
Companies: Cornell University and Williams College
Address: , , ,
Keywords: Gossett ; t-test ; resampling ; introductory course

Student (W. S. Gosset) showed that we only needed the mean, the standard deviation, and the sample size to describe the sampling distribution of the sample mean, with the additional assumption that the population was Normal and a sample size large enough to justify the asymptotic result. Gosset's result is often at the center of our introductory courses. But have we learned the wrong lesson? Gosset derived his sampling distribution by simulating. Using 3000 observations that seemed to be Normal, he drew 750 samples of size 4, computed their means and standard deviations with a mechanical calculator, constructed the empirical sampling distribution, and then approximated it mathematically. Fifteen years later, Fisher grudgingly admitted that he actually got it right. Ever since Gosset, statistics texts and teachers have behaved as if his result was more important than his method. Should we re-think that conclusion? Resampling methods that build empirical sampling distributions the way Gosset did are now easy to use. We'll discuss pros and cons ofresampling and simulation methods in the introductory statistics course and look forward to a discussion of whether the time has come.

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