ETSU Department of Mathematics and Statistics

Statistics Proficiency Exam

If you receive an assistantship funded by the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, then you will be required to do a certain amount of preparation for tutoring (and possibly teaching) our freshman class, Introduction to Probability and Statistics (MATH 1530). Since this class meets the general education requirement in math, the department processes over 1,000 students per semester in this class. As a consequence, this requires a heavy involvement with this class by most faculty and graduate assistants. In particular, as a tutor in the Center for Academic Achievement (CFAA)- this is the primary duty of holders of departmental assistantships - one must be competent with the material of this class.

Effective spring semester 2015, the following policy holds for all students on an assistanship funded by the Department of Mathematics and Statistics:

  1. All graduate students receiving an assistantship from the department will attend a MATH 1530 class during their first semester.
  2. The graduate assistant could be asked to prepare and present a lecture(s).
  3. After sitting through MATH 1530, the graduate assistant will take an exam. This will not be exactly like the final exam that will be given to the undergraduates. The exam could involve the computer, short-answer, etc. type of questions.
  4. A passing grade on the exam will be 80%.
Depending on the grade of the exam and presentations we will identify graduate assistants that could potentially teach Introduction to Probability and Statistics. If one fails the exam, then the graduate assistant must repeat the process the following semester. Assistantship contracts are for 20 hours per week; this normally involves 15 hours per week of tutoring in the CFAA and 5 hours are given for "preparation." Sitting through MATH 1530 for three hours per week would be considered preparation.

The list of topics potentially covered by the exam include:

  • Picturing Distributions with Graphs: Graphs for categorical and quantitative variables
  • Describing Distributions with Numbers: Descriptive Statistics
  • Normal Distribution
  • Scatterplots and Correlation
  • Regression
  • Two-Way Tables
  • Producing Data: Sampling
  • Producing Data: Experiments
  • Introducing Probability
  • General Rules of Probability
  • Binomial Distributions
  • Sampling Distributions
  • Inference about a Population Mean: Confidence Intervals and Hypothesis Tests using both the z and t procedures for one sample and matched pairs
  • Two Sample Problems: Confidence Intervals and Hypothesis Tests
  • Inference about a Population Proportion
  • Sample Size Determination: Mean and Proportion
  • Two Categorical Variables: Plots and Chi-Square Test
The test consists of three parts.
  1. Multiple Choice Questions. These questions are likely taken directly from the MATH 1530 final exams. This counts for 50% of the exam.
  2. Data Analysis Using the Computer. A data set was given and specific questions are asked. Plots or calculuations must be prepared and software output interpreted. This part of the exam is similar to what MATH 1530 students do in their capstone project. This counts for 50% of the exam.
A passing score on the exam is 80%.

Copies of previous Statistics Proficiency Exams are available in PDF as follows:

Some resources relevant to the the Introduction to Probability and Statistics class include:

  1. A webpage containing some old MATH 1530 finals and captsone projects is here.
  2. MATH 1530 Resource page.
  3. Dr. Edith Seier's Webpage for Introduction to STATISTICS in a biological context.
  4. Dr. Edith Seier's handout on the use of the software R in the Introduction to Probability and Statistics class: R for MATH1530.
  5. An Early Start on Inference, a paper describing Dr. Seier's approach in her special section of MATH 1530 for honors scholars, health science, and biological science students
  6. Outline of Dr. Seier's Workshop for MATH1530 tutors from October 31, 2014.
  7. Dr. Robert Gardner's class notes for MATH 1530 based on the fourth edition of David S. Moore's The Basic Practice of Statistics.

Last updated: December 13, 2022.

East Tennessee State University
Box 70267
Johnson City, TN 37614-0267
Tel.: 423-439-1000
Department of Mathematics
312 Gilbreath Hall | PO Box 70663
Johnson City, TN 37614-0663
Phone: 423-439-4349
Fax: 423-439-8361