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Confidence trick: the interpretation of confidence intervals

Foster, Colin

Authors

Colin Foster



Abstract

The frequent misinterpretation of the nature of confidence intervals by students has been well documented. This article examines the problem as an aspect of the learning of mathematical definitions and considers the tension between parroting mathematically rigorous, but essentially uninternalized, statements on the one hand and expressing imperfect but developing understandings on the other. A small-scale study among schoolteachers sought comments on four definitions expressing differing understandings of confidence intervals, and these are examined and discussed. The article concludes that some student wordings could be regarded as less inaccurate than they might seem at first sight and presents a case for accepting a wider range of more intuitive understandings as a work in progress.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Mar 11, 2014
Journal Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education
Electronic ISSN 1492-6156
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 4
Issue 1
APA6 Citation Foster, C. (2014). Confidence trick: the interpretation of confidence intervals. Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, 4(1), doi:10.1080/14926156.2014.874615
DOI https://doi.org/10.1080/14926156.2014.874615
Publisher URL http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14926156.2014.874615
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0

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Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0





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