Candice: Hello Joy, you look like you have spare time on your hands.

Joy: I don't really but—

Candice: No worries, I have for you a challenge.

Joy: Go on.

Candice: I have here five pairs of countries. In each pairing one country has twice the child mortality rate as the other. (Turn to audience) Mortality rate is the ratio of deaths in an area to the population of that area. Since it is a two-times difference, it is a much bigger difference than the uncertainty of the data. My question is simple: which country has the higher child mortality rate of the five pairs?

Sri Lanka or Turkey

Poland or South Korea

Malaysia or Russia

Pakistan or Vietnam

Thailand or South-Africa

Joy: But that is trivial! Let me see, well, it's obviously this one, and this one, and this one, I'll take a guess on this one, but I'm pretty sure it's this one for the last one. Here.

Candice: That sure was brief, let me see if your answers look anything like this.

Sri Lanka or Turkey↑

↑Poland or South Korea

Malaysia or Russia↑

↑Pakistan or Vietnam

Thailand or South-Africa↑

Candice: Wrong, wrong, wrong again, that one's right, and another wrong answer? What is this, multiple choice on the Chemistry HL test? And you are in IB?

Joy: (To audience) Don't give me that look you know couldn't get perfect either.

Candice: This is all part of a larger scheme. Ladies and Gentlemen, I am proud to announce that I have just proved that Joy here, an IB Year II student, knows statistically significantly less about the world than a chimpanzee.

Joy: But what do you mean I know less than a chimpanzee?

Candice: A chimpanzee would be right half of the time!

Joy: What? How?

Candice: If I gave a chimpanzee two bananas, one representing Sri Lanka and the other Turkey, they would be right half of the time.

Joy: Didn't Hans Rosling, Professor of International Health at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, do this test on Swedish medical school undergraduates in his Global Health class?

Candice: Epic fail for the Swedish students too, they averaged 1.8 correct answers out of 5 with a 0.4 confidence interval.

Joy: Confidence what?

Candice: I'll explain later. Rosling continued to do this exact test on the professors in the institute that hand out the Nobel Prize in medicine.

Joy: And how did they do?

Candice: They averaged 2.4 with a 0.4 confidence interval, so they are—

Joy: ...on par with the chimpanzee.

Joy: Good afternoon everyone and welcome to our presentation on statistics.

Candice: The skit that we just did may have shown that Joy here is as worthy as a banana to be in IB, but is that really the case?

Joy: To what extent can we draw accurate conclusions from statistical data?

Candice: And how does the presentation of the data effect our interpretation of it?

Joy: So Candice, since you have already demonstrated your statistical prowess, tell me, what exactly are statistics?

Candice: According to Liwen Vaughan, professor of research methods and statistics at the University of Western Ontario, statistics is a branch of mathematics concerned with collecting and interpreting data. The collection, analysis, explanation, and presentation of data are all part of statistics.

Join now!

Joy: The objective of statisticians is to interpret raw data so that these data will have significance to them. But how exactly do they collect such data? How do they ensure optimum accuracy and precision?

Candice: Statistics Canada provides the following guidelines for producing statistical information, say if I were to investigate the number of hours of sleep a typical IB student at Churchill gets every night, I would first formulate the survey objectives and design a questionnaire.

Joy: In this case, the subjects would be IB Year One and Two students, and they would be asked questions like how ...

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