(I’m still not sure how they got out of high school without passing algebra). Note I’m coming from the viewpoint of the Ontario Curriculum in Canada, where the last year of “University Level Math” in high school involves “Advanced Functions” in semester one and “Calculus and Vectors” in semester two… and/or “Data Management” which is effectively a probability and statistics course. Statistics is needed for many subjects: psychology, biology, engineering, management, marketing, medicine, sociology, education, geography, geology, law and journalism. It is a good mental discipline that helps with problem-solving skills.
If it is either/or then it has to be calculus for the future statisticians (and other mathematical sciences).
HS statistics are mainly taught by teachers trained in mathematics, which is different from statistical training.
I have zero interest in math, and the thought of having to take a math class induces panic and fear of failure. Calculus is great as it is the first ‘real’ Maths I ever studied. Statistics all the way. Absolutely – that’s pretty much what I said in the post.
If you are going into business or humanities, you will need statistics and some programs also require calculus. It is important, I think, to have a non-linguistic subject like Calculus. Taking both subjects was perfect, the subjects are so different that it doesn’t feel like you are doing the same thing all day, and if they are interested in further statistics at any stage, a good understanding of calculus is extremely useful.
But I know I need to take Stats (or Calculus) and most of the stuff I am reading online is suggesting Stats over Calculus.
We wouldn’t tell a Chemistry student not to take Chemistry because they need Physics! Thus a course students might toss in instead of a spare (or maybe take as a second math in Grade 11).
It is great that NZ students can do two math subjects. The biggest problem that I see in students studying statistics at second-year (200) level and above is poor mathematical skills.
https://insights.collegeconfidential.com/uva-essays, College Confidential. I mostly agree. Most of the problems are nice and theoretical, so you don’t have to deal with “word problems”.
It also widens the possibilities in the study of arts subjects such as History and English.
My advice would be to get calculus out of the way. As Cobb said, “Mathematical understanding is not the only understanding.” As students become acquainted with the concepts of variation and randomness, data and evidence earlier in their schooling, it is hoped that they will not struggle as others have. Frankly, if you need both,I would take calculus first since pre-calculus is hopefully fresh in your mind from high school.
For a couple years after I finished grad school, I taught intro stats.
Oldies such as me can remember the days when statistics wasn’t even taught as an undergraduate major, but was picked up in graduate school after a first degree in math.
How scientific are the numbers being reported in the media? Best wishes with your PhD!
I guess they thought so too. Those who are planning to be engineers, physicists, maths teachers or statisticians (yes!) , Hi David. That said, I was already double majoring in computer programming (another ‘essential’ subject for statisticians in my humble opinion) and statistics so additional maths papers would have been hard to fit in, but still – calculus, linear algebra, and other such courses provide good solid foundations for statistical theory to then ‘fit’. It is elegant, and neat, and you get right answers. It’s less than 3 minutes long, worth a watch, and I play it sometimes as an introduction to my course: http://blog.ted.com/2009/06/29/a_formula_for_c/.
Your email address will not be published. What separates statisticians from others who use statistics is that we approach the problem with the logic of a mathematician and the practicality of someone who knows that decisions have to be made. Very inspiring. He later came to me saying “I’ve been following everything in Advanced Functions fine, but some of this data analysis is really confusing.” I like to make the analogy that Statistics is no more an easier math than Biology is an easier science. © Copyright 2020, © 2001-2020 All rights reserved worldwide. The assessment structure for this includes a full statistics subject in the final year for the first time in 2013. So as we all know both of these, the Statistics and Calculus. As a PhD student (part time) in Statistics, I’d advise, if you can only take one – “take the one with the best teacher”. It is certainly an interesting time to be a maths teacher, and for some it is rather daunting.
calculus is clear, logical, no ambiguity, pretty much the same type of situation (derivative or integral). He was told the data course “was the easier one”, so he took that in the evenings. they should take calculus. Besides people tell me that statistics is the easy option for people who can’t do calculus.
And we hope that you know that statistics is a form of Statistical analysis of something.
I’m impressed with New Zealand for taking the lead on this. The choice between Statistics and Calculus is tricky, but for those who might wish to be future statisticians it is easy – Calculus every time.
Thanks and thanks for the link. As far as the pure mathematics goes, it’s awesome, and I agree, taking both would be ideal.
Oh yes – more calculus.
This post is prompted by two 17 year old boys, Cam and Thomas, who are about to enter year 13, the final year of High school in New Zealand. Stats is also important in these fields but it is a less rigorous and hence easier than calculus. In part a good knowledge of calculus is useful in itself, for example to understand some very practical ideas in likelihood theory.
it felt more like an english class than math. If a well prepared student is forced to choose only one, he or she should take the calculus. (This makes no pretense of being a balanced view – that’s what comments are for!) If they do both they will find themselves much better prepared for university anywhere in the world (and will be easily able to compete for scholarships in Australia).
or if you are referring to theoretical statistics, then one should take calculus as the latter has measure theory and real variables as a prerequisites.. […], I agree with many of the comments IF the student is going into a mathematical field, including statistics.
Now, not to knock Calculus, of course. Here is our advice – all students who possibly can, should take statistics. Before computers we could only really learn the theory of statistics, but these days you can get a better picture of what is happening in data without the need for the mathematics. Calculus is important if you want to work in these fields. So that is why we say that statistics is a form of statistical analysis of anything. Engineers need calculus.
A student at our school once wanted to take one math in school, and another as a night course, and asked a guidance counsellor for advice.
And I teach that one. All rights reserved.