Keith Markus' Urban Sprawl

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PSY 769:  Intermediate Statistics in the Social Sciences
Spring 2023
Section 03, Registration Number 41868
Section 04, Registration Number 41867
Professor Keith A. Markus

 Section 03:  Tuesdays 6:00-8:00 PM
 Section 04:  Thursdays 6:00-8:00 PM

  Section 03 & 04: L2.72.05NB

Course Description

"The primary purpose of the course is to educate students about basic [statistical] theories and techniques used in the behavioral sciences. The instructor will briefly review information typically covered in undergraduate statistics, and then introduce more advanced statistical techniques. Upon completion, the student is expected to understand the theoretical underpinnings for the various statistical techniques and the assumptions that data must meet to validly use these statistics. The student will also gain an introduction to computer-based statistical analysis.  30 hours.  3 credits."  (from Graduate Bulletin)

Many students enter the course several years after having taken an undergraduate statistics course.  Moreover, new material often precedes review material in order of logical development.  As a consequence, we will "briefly review" introductory material as if it were new material and do so for most of the semester.  Nonetheless, from the start, we will cover most of the material in more depth than a typical undergraduate course.  We will cover a number of topics not included in a typical introductory course.

Computer based statistical analysis will largely be limited to the use of spreadsheets.  This is because we offer another course entirely devoted to the topic of computer based statistical analysis (PSY 737).  I highly recommend that course to both thesis and non-thesis students.  Other advantages to spreadsheets include the fact that you can easily look at the formulas to know exactly what they are doing, spreadsheets can be tailored to the course, kept simple and focused, and thanks to open source office suites like Libre Office, you can take them wherever you go without any need for licenses to use commercial software.

Course Objectives
1. Students will learn to view psychological phenomena from the perspective of quantitative stochastic processes.
2. Students will develop linguistic competence in interpreting, describing, and critically evaluating basic statistical data.
3. Students will gain experience reasoning from and about numerical data.

Note:  It is not possible for this course to cover all of the statistics that you might need for a thesis.  If you plan on doing a thesis, prepare yourself for the fact that your data analysis will likely involve at least some statistics not covered in this course.  See Blackboard for a document comparing what it covered in this course to other benchmarks.

Diversity and Inclusion
Modern statistics are a cultural artifact tracing back to 19th century Europe but the field has grown to embrace scholarly contributions from around the world.  Statistics has some ugly episodes in its history, including historical figures involved in eugenics who also made lasting contributions to the development of statistics.  Nonetheless, progress in statistics is driven in large part by responding to existing needs and unsolved problems.  As such, the field benefits from contributions from people who bring diverse perspectives and experiences to statistics.  Most of you are psychology students seeking careers in psychology that will not involve becoming professional statisticians.  Nonetheless, much large scale research in psychology involves collaboration between researchers with expertise in statistics and methodology one the one hand and researchers with expertise in a particular topic in psychology on the other hand.  The better you understand statistics, the better you can contribute to such teams and communicate with others in your field.  My intention is for this course to speak to you and empower you in your career no matter your background or milieu.  Moreover, statistical methods play a central role documenting injustice or discrimination and in crafting legislation intended to combat them.  Looking beyond your profession and career, I hope that a richer understanding of statistical methods will be valuable to you as an informed citizen and participant in democratic governance seeking to leave the world better than you found it.

Required Background Knowledge
This course assumes familiarity with basic math and algebra.  Please take the Basic Math and Algebra Screening Test on Blackboard.  Let me know if the questions are unfamiliar to you or if you find the test difficult.  If so, it may be wise to talk to your program head about taking an undergraduate math course this term and registering for this course in a later term.

Required Reading
Bachman, R & Paternoster, R. (2016). Statistical methods for criminology and criminal justice (5th ed.).  Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications(Caution: If you rent, make sure that the rental term reaches through finals week.)  Please make sure that you get the 5th edition.  A number of typographical errors have been corrected and some material has been changed.Text book

Substantial additional materials will be posted on Blackboard.  Some course content is covered only in the additional materials.

Suggested Reading
If you would find it helpful to have an additional perspective on the material, I recommend Gonnick, L. & Smith, W. (1993).  The cartoon guide to statistics.  New York:  Harpercollins.  I have put a copy on reserve at the Lloyd Sealy Library.  This is a supplement, not a substitute for assigned readings.  I have not pre-ordered this book at the book store.  However, I am happy to answer questions drawn from it in course Q&A forums.Gonick and Smith 1993
          Front Cover

I strongly recommend that students install the free office suite Libre Office and use the Calc spreadsheet program (  I will also post Microsoft Excel versions of the spreadsheets but Microsoft is breaking backward compatibility and some of the features used in the course no longer work in Excel (although they did when I created them).  The programs are very similar, but there are some important differences.  Such spreadsheet software remains a popular choice for data entry even among researchers who use more specialized statistical software for data analysis (the topic of PSY 737).  However, research shows that specialized statistical software can be more confusing than enlightening when learning fundamental statistical concepts.  Excel/Calc offer a simple computing environment for working with data ideal for learning and gaining confidence with fundamental statistical concepts.  (Mac users:  You can open both Excel and Calc files using the Mac version of LibreOffice.  However the spreadsheets will not work in Numbers.)  Additional optional software will be explained on Blackboard.  (You will need a computer that is capable of running locally installed software to complete the assignments.  A digital device that relies entirely on web applications will not suffice.)

Internet Connection and Online Course Software
Students will need to be able to download files from Blackboard onto a computer with spreadsheet software installed.  Blackboard is accessible through the CUNY portal: and works best with the Mozilla Firefox browser.

Class Time
The course design is a "flipped classroom".  I will not lecture.  Instead, I will post instructional materials associated with each week on Blackboard for you to use outside of class.  We will use class time to (a) answer your questions, (b) work on practice problems, (c) review the quizzes and T&F questions from the presentation slides, and (d) other activities to help reinforce learning.  (However, you will still need to devote time outside of class to completing assignments.)

Do the reading before the corresponding class.  If you have questions about the reading, bring them to class and I will try to answer them there (ideally by posting them to a discussion board on Blackbaord).  I want to leave some flexibility to use the class time in the manner you will find most useful.  Note, most students find it helpful to read some materials more than once.  Only the first time through the reading need precede the corresponding class.

Asking effective questions:  Try to formulate questions in an effective manner.  If you ask me to explain some topic, especially a fairly general one, I will probably give a brief overview and refer you to the appropriate passages from the textbook or instructional materials.  This is not an effective question (unless that is what you are after) because you are not giving me clear information about what you do not understand, leaving me to guess or just duplicate what you can find elsewhere.  If something was unclear to you there, it is likely to be equally unclear in my answer.  Instead, try to be as specific as you can about what you do not understand.  If you do not understand a particular term, tell me what you find confusing about it.  If you do not understand a particular sentence or paragraph, cite the passage and explain why it does not make sense to you.  If you are confused about a particular statistical analysis, explain the step that you find unclear and what you think that the possible options are.  The more context and detail that you can give me, the better the chances that I can give an answer that is helpful and informative to you and to other students in the class with similar questions.

If your question is related to an assignment, phrase your question in a way that does not involve any spoilers for other students working on the same assignment.  If in doubt, email me privately rather than directly posting on a discussion board.  I will then paste an anonymized and, if necessary, edited version of the question and answer to the discussion board.

Feel free to search for answers to your questions on the Web.  However, please do not attempt to post questions related to the course using online fora like Cross Validated or Stack Overflow.  These are precious resources maintained by busy people donating their time and expertise.  It is not appropriate to lean on them for questions related to a course when you have ready access to an instructor.  Save that for later in your career when you are no longer a student.  (Also, you will probably get a terse answer that either refers you to introductory material or assumes more background knowledge than you currently have.)  You should be able to complete assignments based on the provided course materials but if you make use of additional resources be sure to credit them in what you turn in (see Academic Integrity).

Everyone from me to your class mates are depending on you to ask questions when you have them.  If you have a question, you can be fairly sure that others have the same question.  Your question is not a "dumb question" but asking the question is the smartest thing that you can do.  Everyone else will appreciate your having asked the question.

Non-Class Time
I recommend that you begin each week by reading the chapter once through for the first time.  From there, move to the online instructional materials.  These are organized into subtopics which you can often explore in an order of your choosing.  (My videos often provide an overview of the week's material.)  In many ways, learning statistics is like learning to skate board, ride a bike, or bake a cake: You can read about it from a book but you really need to practice to develop any skill.  So, I strongly recommend taking time to play around with the spreadsheet calculators provided each week, plugging in different numbers and trying things out for yourself.  Instructional materials primarily include: (a) pdf handouts, (b) spreadsheet workbooks and (c) videos.  I will also provide links each week to StatQuest videos on related topics.  Finish the first reading of the chapter and the instructional materials before class meets.  Use what you learn to complete the Application assignment and to formulate questions to ask in class.  After class, I recommend completing the weekly quiz before the start of the next week, to get it out of the way.  I recommend completing at least one or two quests prior to taking the quiz because these are an excellent way to check your understanding of the material and to gain a deeper understanding of it.  Also, Quests take time and you do not want them to pile up until the week before the deadline.

Academic Integrity Attestation
This is a non-graded course requirement.  No other assignments will be accepted for credit unless this form is completed, signed and submitted.  The form is available on the Blackbaord course and attests that you understand the principles of academic integrity and will abide by them in completing all course work involved in this course.  (See further information near the end of the syllabus.)

Application Assignments
Weekly application assignments will appear on Blackboard in the folder for each week.  See Schedule for due dates.  These will be relatively short assignments applying the material for that week.  You can complete them in a word processing program (or simple text editor) and upload the file to Blackboard using the Blackboard Assignment Tool in the same location.  PDF (portable document format) files are great because special characters are stored internally.  I can probably also open RTF (rich text format), ODT (open document text), DOC (old Microsoft Office format) and DOCX (new Microsoft Office format) but these are riskier (e.g., if you use a font I do not have).  If I cannot open a file, or it appears jumbled, I will accept it as on time but send an email request for a PDF file.  Try to keep up with these and not fall behind but I will accept late Application Assignments up until the Quest deadline for each section of the course.

Note: Students sometimes become overconfident and try to complete Application Assignments before they do the reading.  This is a bad idea.  We will cover things you did not learn in your undergraduate statistics course.  If you attempt the Application Assignments without doing the reading, you will invariably do a face plant.  That will mean that I have to expend a lot of time and effort giving you written feedback about what you did wrong, even though by the time I grade the assignment, you will probably have done the reader and figured out what you did wrong on your own.  This will delay me returning grades and deny you the opportunity to test your understanding of the reading when you complete the assignment.  Many of the assignments include extensive cautions against the kinds of mistakes people make when they have not done the reading.  Always go back and check your answer against these cautions before you submit your answer.

Weekly quizzes will comprise six questions. When there are two chapters, there will be three questions from each chapter.  The quizzes will be available on Blackboard in the folder for the week that they test (not the week that they are due!).  See Schedule for due dates.  Your total quiz grade is equal to the mean proportion correct across all quizzes after dropping the two lowest quiz grades.  See Blackboard for a document providing a more detailed description of quiz items.  You only get one try at a quiz.  So, I strongly recommend completing all other assignments and mastering the material through further study before taking the quiz.  You are allowed to use your notes, textbook, and other instructional a materials while taking a quiz, but they are not necessary to complete the quiz.

Note: We will go over quizzes in class after they are due.  As a result, there can be no late quizzes.  This will be a hard and fast deadline because delays in going over the quizzes are very disruptive to other students.  If you miss a quiz for some reason, it will be counted toward the two lowest grades that you can drop.  If you miss three or more quizzes, the zero grade will count toward your course grade.  So, stay on top of the deadlines and be sure to complete quizzes before the deadline (see schedule for specific times of day and dates).  Caution: I discourage waiting until the last minute because if you have not submitted the quiz by the deadline according to Blackboard's internal clock, you will be prevented from ever submitting it even if you have answered all the questions.  Leave yourself time for technical difficulties with Blackboard or your internet connection (also Blackboard can sometimes go down unexpectedly).

There are four quests available for each chapter of the book.  They are available as separate worksheets in a workbook containing all quests for that chapter.  Each quest workbook also contains an overview worksheet listing the quests and also a Statisticians' Guild worksheet which contains hints, resources, and your scores on each quest.

You are required to complete an average of 3 quests for each chapter within each of the three sections of the course.  Any grade better than "incomplete" counts as completing a quest (but I encourage you to go for "perfect!").  You will not receive credit for an incomplete quest even if you have completed a portion of it.  You may complete additional quests prior to the deadline for that chapter for extra credit (see Power Up in grading section).  The course is divided roughly into thirds.  You can continue turning in quests up until the deadline for that third of the course.  Once the deadline passes, no more quests for that third of the course can receive credit.  See Schedule for due dates.

To turn in quests for a given chapter, upload your entire workbook using the Blackboard Assignment tool for quests for that week.  This will be found in the folder for the week corresponding to the quests.  When a week contains two chapters, there will be two separate places to turn in each quest workbook.  Please do not convert quest worksheets to PDF files, turn them in in their original format.  Please also check your grades before you turn in your quest workbook.  Just because you filled in answers to all the questions that does not mean that you successfully completed the quest!

In-class Practice Problems
We will work on practice problems in class that are also part of the same continuous Chifferton universe as are the quests.  These will also be distributed as spreadsheets.  You can download these from Blackboard at the start of class or bring them on an external storage device.  These are not the same as quests and they are not graded assignments.  They are strictly for learning purposes.  I will post solutions from class to Blackboard at the end of each class.

Your final grade comprises your Application Assignment grade, your Quiz grade, your Quest grade for each of the three parts of the course, and your Power Up.  The Application grade counts each of the 12 application assignments as 1 point and equals the sum of these divided by 12.  The Quiz grade counts each quiz as 1 point, drops the 2 lowest, and divides the sum by 10.  The Quest grade for each part is the number of quests that you (successfully) completed (again, not just turned in with answers).  You are required to complete 15 quests for Part 1 and for Part 2, and 12 quests for Part 3.  Your final grade is based on the proportion of the required quests completed in each part.  Specifically, I calculate min(N, F) / N where N is the minimum required quests (15 or 12) and F the number of completed quests for that part of the course.  The Power Up is calculated based on extra quests beyond those required.  Here, I calculate max(0, F - N) for each part of the course, add them together, and divide by 14.  As such, you can never loose points with a negative Power Up, it will never fall below zero.  The Power Up reflects the extra quests you complete beyond those required for each part of the course (not by individual chapter).

Caution: All of this is contingent on your submitting the required Academic Integrity Attestation form.  I will not accept assignments or quizzes for a grade without a signed form.

Your Numeric Course Grade is calculated from the above scores as follows:  (.25 * Application Assignments) + (.25 * Quizzes) + (.17 * Part 1 Quests) + (.17 * Part 2 Quests) + (.16 * Part 3 Quests) + (.05 * Power Up).  In words, Applications and Quizzes both count 25% of your grade, required Quests count for 50%, and you can earn up to 5% extra credit by completing extra quests.  There will be no other extra credit options beyond Power Ups.

I will use the following chart to convert Numeric Course Grades to Letter Course Grades.  On the proportion (not percent) scale, I will round .xx5 and above up and anything below .xx5 down.

Letter Grade  Numeric Course Grade
A .95-1.00
A- .90-.94
B+ .85-.89
B .80-.84
B- .75-.79
C+ .70-.74
C .65-.69
C- .60-.64
F .00-.59

You can use the below grade calculator to estimate your course grade.  This requires a web browser that supports JavaScript.  For ease of use, I have expressed Applications Grade and Quizzes Grade as a percentage, so you need to multiply by 100.  The Quest scores are counts of completed quests.  So, for example, if you enter 100, 100, 15, 15 and 12, you get a grade of 100% with no Power Up.

Grade Calculator
Applications Grade 
Quizzes Grade 
Part I Quests    
Part II Quests    
Part III Quests    
Base Grade 
Power Up 
Numeric Course Grade 
Letter Grade    

Inappropriate Helping
Many of you have chosen the course of study you have because you wish to join what is commonly known as "the helping profession."  To become a valued member of this profession, it is crucial that you learn to distinguish appropriate from inappropriate helping.  Success in this field of work requires the trust of your colleagues and coworkers.  Whether you are doing counseling or intake assessments or something in between, the work you do on a daily basis impacts people's lives, and your coworkers need to know that you will do that work with integrity.  It may seem harmless to share answers but in doing so you are engaging in inappropriate helping.  You are harming the person who receives the answers by denying them the opportunity to learn from the course assignments.  You are harming yourself by forming dysfunctional work habits that could damage your career down the line.  You are also doing harm to other students and the College by damaging the reputation of the college and reducing the value of the degrees that it grants.  Finally, you are harming your prospective employers by undermining their trust that a degree from the College represents the knowledge, skills and abilities that they expect when they hire one of our graduates.  So, what seems like a harmless act of "helping" can actually end up doing a lot of harm. 

The expectation in this course is that you will do your own work.  It is allowed and encouraged that you form study groups, discuss the material, work together on unassigned problems from the book, even practice testing one another on the material.  However, all assignments must be completed individually with no collaboration or sharing of work.  If you cannot respect the boundary between appropriate and inappropriate helping, then I encourage you to drop the course to avoid ruining it for others.

College Plagiarism Policy
Plagiarism is the act of presenting another person’s ideas, research or writings as your own. The following are some examples of plagiarism, but by no means is it an exhaustive list:

•    Copying another person’s actual words without the use of quotation marks and footnotes attributing the words to their source

•    Presenting another person’s ideas or theories in your own words without acknowledging the source

•    Using information that is not common knowledge without acknowledging the source

•    Failing to acknowledge collaborators on homework and laboratory assignments

Internet plagiarism includes submitting downloaded term papers or part of term papers, paraphrasing or copying information from the Internet without citing the source, and “cutting and pasting” from various sources without proper attribution.

(From the John Jay College of Criminal Justice Graduate Bulletin, p. 89)

Students who are unsure how and when to provide documentation are advised to consult with their instructors. The Library has free guides designed to help students with problems of documentation.

Contact Information: (It usually works best to email me.)

  Office Hours:  By appointment.  I will dedicate a Blackboard Discussion Board to questions and check it several times a week.  For anything that you do not want to share with other students, contact me by email.  I can answer many questions quickly by email (I will post an anonymous version to Blackboard for course-related questions.)

  Office:  Room 10.65.04, 524 W59 Street.  (Due to the ongoing pandemic, I will generally only be on campus to check my mailbox twice a week and for a minimal amount of time.)

  Phone:  212-237-8784 Please do not leave messages at this number.  (I do not check voice mail when off campus and I no longer receive voicemail as email for some reason.)




Section 03 Tuesdays
Meeting Dates
Section 04 Thursdays
Meeting Dates
All assignments due by 5:PM on the date listed in the meeting dates column unless otherwise noted.

Ch 1 (Recommended, Appendix A)
Why am I here?  What is this class about?  Syllabus.
Statistical inference and Sampling.
Week 1 Quiz
Week 1 Application
Week 2 Application

Levels of measurement, Distributions
Week 2 Quiz
Week 3 Application
Ch 4-5

Central tendency, Dispersion
(Class Does Not Meet 2/21, Monday Schedule)
Week 3 Quiz
Chapters 1-5 Quests Deadline (and late Application Assignments for Part I)

Week 5 Application
Ch 6

Probability, Hypothesis Testing
Week 5 Quiz
Week 6 Application
Ch 7

Point estimation, Confidence Intervals
Week 6 Quiz
Week 7 Application
Ch 8

Single group mean and proportion
Week 7 Quiz
Week 8 Application
Ch 9

Hypotheses and measures of association with categorical data


Week 8 Quiz
Week 9 Application
Ch 10

Two group mean and proportion
(Class Does Not Meet 4/11)
Week 9 Quiz
Chapters 6-10 Quests Deadline (and late Application Assignments for Part II)

(Class Does Not Meet 4/6 or 4/13)
Week 11 Application
Ch 11
One-way ANOVA
Week 11 Quiz
Week 12 Application
Ch 12
Bivariate correlation and regression.
Week 12 Quiz
Week 13 Application
Ch 13
Multiple regression
5/11 Week 13 Quiz
Week 14 Application
Ch 14 (
Logistic regression
15 (Finals week)
(No Class Meeting)
(No Class Meeting)
Week 14 Quiz
Chapters 11-14 Quests Deadline (and late Application Assignments for Part III)




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Created 13 March 2013
Updated 19 January 2023
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