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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


ARTIST Assessment Builder

 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

4.25 stars
Content Quality: 4.5 stars
Effectiveness: 4.25 stars
Ease of Use: 4 stars
Reviewed: Sep 16, 2008 by Statistics Editorial Board
Overview: Assessment Resource Tools for Improving Statistical Thinking (ARTIST) provides a collection of assessment resources for teaching first courses in statistics including questions, topic tests, references, reports, and selected publications about the results of this project. This project was funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF CCLI –ASA- 0206571) and supported by the National Science Foundation, University of Minnesota, and California Polytechnic State University.
Learning Goals: Per their website: "Our goal is to help teachers assess statistical literacy, statistical reasoning, and statistical thinking in first courses of statistics."
Target Student Population: A.P. or College statistics course instructors
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Basic knowledge and understanding of statistical literacy, statistical reasoning, and statistical thinking will benefit users of this site. Basic definitions and rationales are provided.
Type of Material: Database and collection
Recommended Uses: The major focus of this website revolves around the Assessment Builder. The Assessment Builder is an online tool that gives the instructor access to a collection of over 1100 high quality assessment items in a variety of item formats. Each item is categorized according to statistical topic and type of learning outcome assessed. Assessment Builder can be used to generate files that can be edited with a word processing program by statistics instructors.
Technical Requirements: Browser and Microsoft Powerpoint reader to access that component.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths: The content of this website incorporates best practices for statistics instruction. Basic definitions are provided in a clear and concise format. This website is informed by the scholarship of the granting agency (NSF) and sponsoring universities. It is self-contained and provides assessment of the core concepts that are grounded in the discipline. Resources available for investigation include an item database (assessment builder), scales and tests, research instruments dealing with achievement measures and attitudes and anxiety measures, publications, and presentations about the project. It is free to register and make use of the collected resources.
Concerns: It appears that the project was completed between 2003-2006. It was last updated in June 2006.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.25 stars
Strengths: This teaching tool would be valuable for new and veteran instructors of statistics courses. It provides research instruments as well, related to scales, achievement and attitudes toward statistics. The attitude instruments could be very effective as instructors seek to address students' fears and/or dislike for statistics. The Assessment Builder provides instructors with a large database from which to develop their own assessments. Additionally, there is a Powerpoint presentation that could be used related to a first course in statistics. The database, research instruments, and online tests offer solid material that has the potential to be used in a variety of creativity and highly effective ways depending on the user.
Concerns: You not only need to register to use the database, but also to acquire the ARTIST online tests. This could be an additional step that might dissuade some instructors from using this resource.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: This web site has easy-to-read, intuitive links, all highlighted in bold, blue. Easy navigation is accessible on the left hand navigation bar and throughout the text. Each link opens in a new window, which is very helpful. It is a very user friendly site.
Concerns: The screen views are mostly white background with black print. Although this will load quickly for most readers, there is very little eye-catching information. Unless you have been referred to this site by someone that has used it, it appears very arid at first.

Other Issues and Comments: The last publication update was July 2006. This is a website worth keeping up-to-date. The fact that the answers are not provided might cause some new instructors to avoid using this resource. Many adjunct professors do not have extensive statistical backgrounds and would benefit from having access to answers and proofs for their reference.