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Helping students to climb the mountain: a study to inform the development of a resource to improve the learning of statistics in Psychology

Davies, EL and Paltoglou, AE and Molys-Carter, WL (2015) Helping students to climb the mountain: a study to inform the development of a resource to improve the learning of statistics in Psychology. Psychology Teaching Review, 21 (1). pp. 56-67. ISSN 0965-948X

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Abstract

Students often struggle with learning about statistics, which encompass a large proportion of a psychology degree. This pilot study explored how first- and final-year students reflected on their experiences of being taught this topic, in order to identify needs that could be addressed in a project to improve their learning. First-year students reported that they initially found their module challenging but that it became easier towards the end. Third year students recognised the importance of the topic but were not confident in their abilities. Most students reported anxiety about statistics. Although students were positive about practical classes, many felt that they could not easily remember the materials. The findings suggested three areas of focus to improve student learning. Firstly, diverse needs and levels of ability should be catered for. Secondly, students need help to go beyond surface learning and button clicking. Finally, low levels of engagement should be addressed. This work has informed a project to develop an online resource to address the above identified needs to enhance teaching of this important topic.

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