By Dr Jenny Koenig posted 17th June 2013.
Many people are surprised when they discover that the statistics taught in university bioscience degrees overlaps significantly with that taught in schools. It makes sense though because not all students will have done any statistics at school and if they have done some, for example in biology A level, they are unlikely to have a coherent “big picture” of what statistics is and how it fits together. Thus universities need to start from the beginning to ensure all students get the right grounding before they can move on to more complex ideas.
It follows that many of the resources produced for schools might be useful in HE and vice versa. The Wellcome Trust have published the latest edition of their “Big Picture” magazine, a free post-16 resource that explores issues around biology and medicine. The magazine itself contains many key ideas in basic statistics and links to real world examples and some careers aspects all of which are genuinely useful for post-16 including HE.
There are also links to other resources well worth exploring. I particularly liked the cartoon on conditional risk and being a trekkie-fan I did a double-take at the StatTrek website which did look quite good – perhaps as a reference for students to follow up ideas after lectures. There are some biological examples of the use of a number of statistical tests (Chi-squared, Mann-Whitney U, T-test, Wilcoxon) and links to some large datasets. Again these could be useful links for students to revise and reinforce material introduced in lectures or large classes.