Assignment 1: Statistical Evaluations

Using numbers and statistics can be a powerful persuader. Individuals possess a wide range of proficiency, however, regarding the use of statistics. Since individuals may use numbers to clarify information as well as to influence others, you need a basic understanding of statistics to evaluate the information. The key to statistics is the ability to interpret raw data so that the meaning is sensible and defensible.

This week’s Assignment challenges you to interpret and evaluate an assortment of statistical presentations. To complete this Assignment, obtain the Week 4 Assignment Handout: Statistical Evaluations located in this weeks Learning Resources.

This handout will guide you to a variety of resources that present quantitative data. (You download each of these resources from the Document section in the Learning Resources.) You will apply what you have explored in this week regarding statistics to answer questions about the data. These questions target your ability to read and interpret the data and to consider whether the data presenter’s conclusions are statistically justified and what types of meaning can be gleaned from the conclusions.

The grade for this assignment (90 points) is based on your answers to the questions for the data/report sections you select. The Week 4 Assignment Handout: Statistical Evaluations has four sections; select two of the four sections to address for this Assignment.

By Day 7

Submit a completed copy of the Week 4 Assignment Handout: Statistical Evaluations.

Submission and Grading Information

To submit your completed Assignment for review and grading, do the following:

Week 4 Assignment Handout: Statistical Evaluations


Select 2 of the 4 data sets/reports below, evaluate the information, and answer the questions on this worksheet. Note: After completing this document, save it to your computer. You will submit the completed document for the Unit 4 Application Assignment.

SECTION 1: To complete the questions in this section, download the Death in the United States, 2010 document in the Week 4 resources.  


Using basic statistical terms and definitions, explain why a comparison of variance over a 10-year period has more validity than a comparison of a year-to-year basis.


Read the “Data source and methods” section on page 6 of the Death in the United States, 2010 document. Explain how collecting data in the method described may skew the data one way or another—that is, make it less accurate than the real life it purports to reflect.

From the percentage of deaths within an age group indicated in the pie charts on page 4 in the Death in the United States, 2010 document, are you more likely to die from cancer or heart disease if you are in the 45–64 age group or in the 65 or older age group? Explain your answer. Interpret why this is so. 

Is there evidence to support the claim that while the infant mortality rate [IMR] had its single largest drop between 2009 and 2010, the rate of decrease in the IMR is slowing down in the two decades indicated in Figure 5? (See page 5 the Death in the United States, 2010 document.) Explain your answer.

Can you support the statement that the older you get the less likely you are to die suddenly or cause your own death? What data would you use to support this? 

SECTION 2: To complete the questions in this section, download the Employment Projections and the Education, Job Openings, and Unemployment in Metropolitan America documents in the Week 4 resources. Examine the employment statistical data that show the more education you have the less unemployment occurs:


Which of the following scenarios makes the greatest difference in your yearly income and reducing your likelihood of being unemployed: 1) Going from an associate’s degree to a bachelor’s degree or 2) Going from a bachelor’s degree to a master’s degree? Explain your answer.


In what ways do these two studies support the adage “A rising tide lifts all boats” when it comes to education and unemployment? 

Just as the axiom that states, “old is 15 years older than you are,” being rich is a relative term. If you were a 20-year-old without a high school diploma, what academic path might you take to triple your weekly income? Where would be a good place to live once you complete your education?  Explain your answers.

Using Table 1 on page 8 of Education, Job Openings, and Unemployment in Metropolitan America and the Employment Projections chart, predict a salary of a person who is a “Supervisor of Sales Workers.” Based on the level of education for the group, is it more or less likely for a supervisor of sales workers to be unemployed compared with a “Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioner”?

SECTION 3: The Economics of Sports

To answer the questions in this section, visit the Walden Library to read the following article:


In the article introduction, the authors give figures on the University of Minnesota’s new stadium that was built for the football team. “Although the precise line between what constitutes state and university funds is admittedly unclear when dealing with a public university, at least 55% of the new stadium was paid for with designated state funds (Baade, Baumann, & Matheson, 2011, p. 372). What is meant by the underlined phrase? Why can this not be determined precisely?

Explain why the authors used a non-sports–related event such as Hurricane Andrew to include in the comparisons of tables 3, 4, 5, and 6. Is this necessary? Is this an appropriate use of the data when focusing on the economic impact of sports in an area?

After analyzing tax revenues throughout the state in comparison with the local area during football and basketball games, the authors state the following in the conclusion: 

The present regression analysis of taxable sales in Florida between 1980 to early 2007 fails to support these claims. Men’s basketball games at Florida State University and University of Florida were found to have no statistically significant impact on taxable sales in Tallahassee and Gainesville, respectively, and indeed, the coefficient on the variable was even negative in two of the four models (Baade et al., 2011, p. 372). 

 What is meant by “statistically significant impact?” Is there money to be made on sports teams in these college towns? Who makes the money?

You sit on a task force created to deal with an unemployment problem in these cities. Should the local community encourage the universities in these two towns to have more major sporting events as a strategy for growing the city economy? Why or why not?

SECTION 4: Prisoner Incarceration in the United States 

To complete the questions in this section, download the Correctional Populations in the United States, 2011 document in the Week 4 resources. 

Figure 1 on page 1 of the document indicates that the span of the data is an 11-year period, yet only 7 years are represented in the vertical column. Does this have an impact on the validity, accuracy, or ability to compare the data? Why or why not?

Based on appropriate use of statistical data, evaluate the following statements: 

Based on incarceration rates, Guam is the safest U.S. Territory or commonwealth in which to reside. [Appendix Table 2, p. 8]

Based on the number of prisoners held by that branch of the service and those sentenced to more than 1 year of incarceration, the Marine Corps has made significant strides in more lawful behavior while the Coast Guard has doubled the rate of serious criminal activity.

Using Table 3 and the narrative on page 4, evaluate the following statement:
Between 2010 and 2011, the judicial system moved closer to reducing the total expenditures on incarceration in this country.

Provide some interpretation of the following data. The US Census Bureau states the population in the United States in 1980 was ~228 million and in 2008 was ~304 million. Using the Table 1 graph, it is estimated that the “Total population under the supervision of adult correctional systems” was ~2 million in 1980 and ~7.3 million in 2008.

Assignment 2: Required Summary Blog Post

To prepare for this blog post:

In one paragraph, summarize how the resources in Unit 4 extend your understanding of problem solving.

By Day 5

Post this paragraph in your blog.

By Day 7

Read your colleagues’ blogs and consider what resonates with you. Contribute to at least one colleague’s blog.

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