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Archive of posts filed under the Teaching category.

Spell-checking example demonstrates key aspects of Bayesian data analysis

One of the new examples for the third edition of Bayesian Data Analysis is a spell-checking story. Here it is (just start at 2/3 down on the first page, with “Spelling correction”). I like this example—it demonstrates the Bayesian algebra, also gives a sense of the way that probability models (both “likelihood” and “prior”) are […]

Mailing List Degree-of-Difficulty Difficulty

The Difficulty with Difficult Questions Andrew’s commented during our Stan meetings that he’s observed that when a user sends an easy question to a mailing list, it gets answered right away, whereas difficult questions often languish with no answers. These difficult questions usually come from power users with real issues, whereas the simple questions are […]

A course in sample surveys for political science

A colleague asked if I had any material for a course in sample surveys. And indeed I do. See here. It’s all the slides for a 14-week course, also the syllabus (“surveyscourse.pdf”), the final exam (“final2012.pdf”) and various misc files. Also more discussion of final exam questions here (keep scrolling thru the “previous entries” until […]

Advice on writing research articles

From a few years ago: General advice Both the papers sent to me appear to have strong research results. Now that the research has been done, I’d recommend rewriting both articles from scratch, using the following template: 1. Start with the conclusions. Write a couple pages on what you’ve found and what you recommend. In […]

“At the risk of deviating from the standards of close reading, this requires some context”

Mark Palko waxes indignant about corporate postmodernism.


There’s lots of overlap but I put each paper into only one category.  Also, I’ve included work that has been published in 2013 as well as work that has been completed this year and might appear in 2014 or later.  So you can can think of this list as representing roughly two years’ work. Political […]

Big bad education bureaucracy does big bad things

In response to some big new push for testing schoolchildren, Mark Palko writes: The announcement of a new curriculum is invariably followed by a round of hearty round of self congratulations and talk of “keeping standards high” as if adding a slide to a PowerPoint automatically made students better informed. It doesn’t work that way. […]

BDA class 4 G+ hangout on air is on air

BDA class G+ hangout another try

Value-added modeling in education: Gaming the system by sending kids on a field trip at test time

Just in time for Halloween, here’s a horror story for you . . . Howard Wainer writes: In my book “Uneducated Guesses” in the chapter on value-added models, I discuss how the treatment of missing data can have a profound effect on the estimates of teacher scores. I made up how a principal might send […]