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Why Statistics Needed in Education Especially in Research

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Why statistics is needed in Education, especially in Research

An Assignment for M. Phil Education (Research) Supervisor: Dr. Khalid Saleem Sb.

Why statistics is needed in Education, especially in Research

What is statistics?

Statistics is a range of procedures for gathering, organising, analysing and presenting quantitative data. ‘Data’ is the term for facts that have been obtained and subsequently recorded, and, for statisticians, ‘data’ usually refers to quantitative data that are numbers
In very broad terms, statistics can be divided into two branches – descriptive and inferential statistics.

1. Descriptive statistics

is concerned with quantitative data and the methods for describing them. (‘Data’ (facts) is the plural of ‘datum’ (a fact), and therefore always needs a plural verb.)This branch of statistics is the one that you will already be familiar with because descriptive statistics are used in everyday life in areas such as government, healthcare, business, and sport.

2. Inferential

(analytical) statistics makes inferences about populations (entire groups of people or firms) by analysing data gathered from samples (smaller subsets of the entire group), and deals with methods that enable a conclusion to be drawn from these data. (An inference is an assumption, supposition, deduction or possibility.) Inferential statistics starts with a hypothesis (a statement of, or a conjecture about, the relationship between two or more variables that you intend to study), and investigates whether the data are consistent with that hypothesis. Because statistical processing requires mathematics, it is an area that is often approached with discomfort and anxiety, if not actual fear. Which is why this book tells you which statistics to use, why those statistics, and when to use them, and ignores the explanations (which are often expressed mathematically) of the formulae in which they tend to be articulated, though it does give advice on what you should bear in mind when planning your data collection.
One of the major problems any researcher faces is reducing complex situations or things to manageable formats in order to describe, explain or model them. This is where statistics comes in. Using appropriate statistics, you will be able to make sense of the large amount of data you have collected so that you can tell your research story coherently and with justification. Put concisely, statistics fills the crucial gap between information and knowledge.

A very brief history of statistics

The word ‘statistics’ derives from the modern Latin term statisticum collegium (council of state) and the Italian word statista (statesman or politician). ‘Statistics’ was used in 1584 for a person skilled in state affairs, having political knowledge, power or influence by Sir William
Petty, a seventeenth-century polymath and statesman, used the phrase ′political arithmetic′ for ‘statistics’.

Need of Statistics in Education

The issue of the quality of education is increasingly becoming an area of interest and concern to many nations of the developing world. There is concern because generally quality of education seems to be either stagnating or deteriorating. There can be no argument over the fact that quality assessments have frequently been made on the basis of key indicators generated through the analysis of the statistics available.

What is Quality?

The definition of quality is difficult, because it is an all encompassing concept or attribute (Murimba, 2002). There has always existed a conceptual controversy over the definition of quality. Murimba goes on to say it is a characteristic that is easily recognized when present and indeed conspicuous when it is absent. Quality is a multifaceted concept. It encompasses how learning is organized and managed, what the content of learning is, what level of learning is achieved, what it leads to in terms of outcomes, and what goes on in the learning environment. The role of statistics in the development of quality in education

Inputs Process Outcomes

Household community
Characteristics
• Parental attitudes
• Household income
• Community economic and labour market conditions
• Cultural/religious factors

Student characteristics
• Aptitude and ability
• Perseverance/commitment
• Nutrition and health

School
• Curriculum content
• Textbook & learning materials
• Teacher qualification, training, morale and commitment
• Parent community support

School Climate
• High expectations
• Positive teacher attitudes
• Safe and gender sensitive environment
• Incentives for good results

Teaching and Learning
• Sufficient time
• Active teaching methods
• Integrated systems for assessment and feedback
• Appropriate class size
• Appropriate use of language

Contextual factors
• Macro economic and fiscal factors, stability, decentralization and governance
• Civil service quality
• National goals and standards for education, curricular guidelines sources of funding and allocation, teacher recruitment and deployment
• Education systems and management
• Participation, progression completion and transition
• Engagement and use of time
• Peer effects, parental support, promotion policies

Achievement

Cognitive development
• literacy, generic skills
• good citizenship
• personal development
• positive attitudes towards learning
• healthy behaviour

Attainment
• Formal completion
• Diploma/qualifications

Standards
• Official learning objectives (desired outcomes)

Why you need to use statistics in your research

‘Statists’ were specialists in those aspects of running a state which were particularly related to numbers. This encompassed the tax liabilities of the citizens as well as the state’s potential for raising armies. The word ‘statistics’ is possibly the descendant of the word ‘statist’.

The importance of statistics

It is obvious that society can’t be run effectively on the basis of hunches or trial and error, and that in business and economics much depends on the correct analysis of numerical information. Decisions based on data will provide better results than those based on intuition or gut feelings.
What applies to this wider world applies to undertaking research into the wider world. And learning to use statistics in your studies will have a wider benefit than helping you towards a qualification. Once you have mastered the language and some of the techniques in order to make sense of your investigation, you will have supplied yourself with a knowledge and understanding that will enable you to cope with the information you will encounter in your everyday life. Statistical thinking permeates all social interaction.

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