The Risks of Using Spreadsheets for Statistical Analysis

Whitepaper: The Risks of Using Spreadsheets for Statistical Analysis

Whitepaper: The Risks of Using Spreadsheets for Statistical Analysis

Spreadsheets are widely used for statistical analysis; and while they are incredibly useful tools, they are useful only to a certain point. When used for a task they’re not designed to perform, or for a task at or beyond the limit of their capabilities, spreadsheets can actually be dangerous.

This paper presents some points you should consider if you use, or plan to use, a spreadsheet to perform statistical analysis. It also describes an alternative that in many cases will be more suitable.

 

 

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Tea Party group pushes for sunnier side of slavery in textbooks

A little more than a year after the conservative-led state board of education in Texas approved massive changes to its school textbooks to put slavery in a more positive light, a group of Tea Party activists in Tennessee has renewed its push to whitewash school textbooks, the Huffington Post reports. The group is seeking to remove references to slavery and mentions of the country’s founders being slave owners. According to reports, Hal Rounds, the Fayette County attorney and spokesman for the group, said during a recent news conference that there has been “an awful lot of made-up criticism about, for instance, the founders intruding on the Indians or having slaves or being hypocrites in one way or another.”

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Schools drop athletics to save district

In a desperate effort to boost student performance and save a school system from closure, one Texas school district has made the mid-year decision to eliminate its athletic programs–in a state where sports are a highly coveted pastime, the Huffington Post reports. The Premont Independent School District in South Texas lost accreditation last year after it had failed to meet adequate yearly progress requirements since 2007 under the federal No Child Left Behind law. Premont ISD was slated to close by this July, but the closure has been suspended to allow the district more time to turn around its student performance and attendance rates.

“A Not Accredited-Revoked status means that the Texas Education Agency no longer recognizes the district as a Texas public school,” according to the Houston Elementary Education Examiner

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Black, Latino students perform at levels of 30 years ago

Educators are expressing alarm that the performance gap between minority and white high school students continues to expand across the United States, with minority teenagers performing at academic levels equal to or lower than those of 30 years ago, America’s Wire reports. Despite the hope that improving education for children of color would propel them to better life outcomes, Latino and African-American students are not being prepared in high school classrooms for brighter futures. While achievement levels have improved considerably for minority elementary and middle school students, educators say their academic performance drops during high school years. How prevalent is the achievement gap at the high school level?

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Chicago Public School system announces guidelines for longer school days

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Public School system has issued guidelines that detail what the longer school days are to consist of. The plan includes mandatory recess for all elementary schools, as well as an additional 54 minutes of instructional classroom time for elementary students and 46 minutes of instructional time for high school students. WGN News added most grade schools will devote two hours to reading and writing, 60 to 80 minutes on math, 40 to 60 minutes on science and 30 to 40 minutes on social studies…

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Rothstein: The facts that school reformers ignore

Education “reformers” have a common playbook, says Richard Rothstein, a research associate at the Economic Policy Institute, for the Washington Post. First, assert without evidence that regular public schools are “failing” and that large numbers of regular (unionized) public school teachers are incompetent. Provide no documentation for this claim other than that the test score gap between minority and white children remains large. Then propose so-called reforms to address the unproven problem—charter schools to escape teacher unionization and the mechanistic use of student scores on low-quality and corrupted tests to identify teachers who should be fired. The mantra has been endlessly repeated by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and by “reform” leaders like Michelle Rhee, former Washington D.C. public schools chancellor, and Joel Klein, former New York schools chancellor…

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Ed-tech group outlines goals to help schools implement technology

CoSN's efforts can help school leaders advocate for educational technology.

One of the nation’s major educational technology advocacy groups has identified five key goals in a new three-year advocacy plan that will help advance new K-12 ed-tech learning opportunities.

The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), while celebrating its 20th anniversary, released its Strategic Plan: 2012-2015, which updates CoSN’s advocacy efforts.

“We’re excited to launch our new strategic plan, particularly at a time when CoSN is celebrating two decades of success in school system technology,” said CoSN CEO Keith Krueger. “We undertook this effort to reframe, refocus, and refresh our objectives, as it’s important to ensure that our goals and priorities continue to evolve along with today’s ever-changing technology environment. Our new plan does that, and we look forward to strengthening our organization and thought leadership in the years ahead.”

To execute its mission, CoSN identified the following five external goals:

Close the Access Gap: Increase awareness of requirements to close the technology access gap for learning inside and outside of school.

As educational technology changes at a fast pace, schools and districts must deal with infrastructure requirements made necessary by an increase in online, mobile, and blended learning, as well as use of digital content and tools.

High-speed broadband and wireless connectivity are essential in supporting schools’ missions to provide students with access to high-quality digital and online learning opportunities. Some schools face challenges as they strive to update aging infrastructure.

CoSN plans to offer more resources to help schools navigate the challenges that accompany infrastructure upgrades, deploying broadband networks, and working to close the technology access gap.

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Senator puts teachers, police officers, firefighters in the 1 percent

Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) has advocated for large financial institutions in the past, but he stuck up for an interesting new segment of the 1 percent on Saturday: teachers, police officers, and firefighters, the Huffington Post reports. In an interview with the Lowell Sun, Brown claimed that President Barack Obama’s proposed tax increase on households that make over $250,000 will fall on the families of public employees like teachers, firefighters, and police officers: Asked which public servants earn that much money, Brown said it is common for police officers to earn well over $100,000 annually when overtime is factored into their pay.

“You throw in a teacher who’s working, plus a summer job, it adds up pretty quickly,” he said. “There’s quite a few of them.”

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‘Parent trigger’ would let parents convert schools

Indiana parents could soon have a direct say in turning public schools into charter schools. A measure being pushed in the Indiana House of Representatives would let them vote to turn public schools over to charter school operators, the Associated Press reports. The idea is part of a national wave that started in Los Angeles in 2009 and has been considered in statehouses nationwide over the last two years.

“It gives parents the option, if they are in a school that is not meeting the needs of their children, if they get 51 percent of the parents to decide they would like to change that school culture from that of a traditional public school to that of a charter,” said Rep. Robert Behning, R-Indianapolis, who chairs the House education committee and is a co-author of the measure…

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