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Analysis of attitudinal components towards statistics among students from different academic degrees

Carmen León-Mantero, José Carlos Casas-Rosal, Alexander Maz-Machado and Miguel E Villarraga Rico

PLOS ONE, 2020, vol. 15, issue 1, 1-13

Abstract: Despite its important position in academic and scientific fields, as well as in daily life, statistics is a subject that generates negative attitudes within most t disciplines in the college curriculum. This paper proposes a method for analysing different students’ attitudes toward statistics using paired ANOVA tests for comparing components and groups, and discriminant analysis application for measuring the discriminant power of different components. This method was applied to a sample of 145 teachers in training from the University XXX who were studying for degrees in Spanish, English, social sciences, and mathematics during the 2016–2017 academic year. Pedagogic and anthropologic components were established using Estrada’s Scale of Attitudes toward Statistics (EAEE). All the students were characterized on such a scale. The results show higher scores, mainly in instrumental components (and, to a lesser extent, cognitive and social components) from students majoring in mathematics. Furthermore, the cognitive component that most strongly characterizes students working toward a degree in social sciences, which suggests that they perceive statistics as a reliable subject but are not as aware of its utility when facing problems in everyday life. The information obtained in this study can be used to devise strategies that can lead to an improvement in future teachers’ attitudes toward statistics, which would, in turn, improve the performance of their future students.

Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0227213

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