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# Investigation 33 handwriting and sat scores an

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Investigation 3.3: Handwriting and SAT Scores An article about handwriting appeared in the October 11, 2006 issue of the Washington Post . The article mentioned that among students who took the essay portion of the SAT exam in 2005-06, those who wrote in cursive style scored significantly higher on the essay, on average, than students who used printed block letters. Researchers wanted to know whether simply writing in cursive would be a way to increase scores. (a) Identify the explanatory and response variables in this study. Also classify the variables as quantitative or categorical. Explanatory: Response: (b) Would you conclude from this study that using cursive style causes students to score better on the essay? If so, explain why. If not, identify a potential confounding variable, and explain how it provides an alternative explanation for why the cursive writing group would have a significantly higher average essay score. The article also mentioned a different study in which the same one essay was given to all graders. But some graders were shown a cursive version of the essay and the other graders were shown a version with printed block letters. Researchers randomly decided which version the grader would receive. The average score assigned to the essay with the cursive style was significantly higher than the average score assigned to the essay with the printed block letters. (c) Explain a key difference between how this study was conducted and how the first study was conducted. (d) Would the difference cited in (c) make you more willing to draw a cause-and-effect conclusion between writing style and SAT score with the second study than with the first one? Explain.

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Chance/Rossman, 2015 ISCAM III Investigation 3.3 202 Definition: An observational study is one in which the researchers passively observe and record information about the observational units. In an experimental study , the researchers actively impose the explanatory variable (often called treatment ) on the observational units (can also be called the experimental units in an experiment). (e) Classify the first and second study above as observational or experimental: Study of 2006 exams: Study of one response written both ways: (f) Explain why the experimental study should be less susceptible to the potential for a confounding variables between the writing style and the score. (g) Discuss one disadvantage to the experimental study compared to the observational study for this research question. Study Conclusions The second study determined for each judge whether they would grade the exam written in block letters or in cursive letters. Because it was the same exam otherwise, there shouldn’t be any other reason for the difference in scores apart from the type of writing. For this reason, because the difference was statistically significant, we will be willing to conclude that the writing style caused the difference in scores. However, this only tells us about that one exam and in the slightly artificial condition of asking the judges to grade the exam. We don’t know whether the same effect would be found on other essays or
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