Stats Made Easy

Practical Tools for Effective Experimentation

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Brains for beer

Looking over the guide to parents provided by the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, I came across the obligatory admonitions against student drinking. What caught my eye was a graph showing ever-shrinking GPA as a function of the number of beers or other alcoholic beverages. A shallow search on Internet dredged up this study by Rebecca Nelson of Mary Washington College, who provides this support for this contention:
“Three of the four regressions give a negative coefficient to drinking 13 or more drinks per week. The magnitudes of these signs were greater for freshmen as well. While drinking has a negative affect [sic] on GPA throughout all the students, freshmen’s GPA is hit harder. This indicates that upperclassmen become more efficient in their drinking as well. Upperclassmen learn how and when to drink in moderation. Students may not change the amount they drink as they progress through college, but they do change how they drink.”

I really hate seeing young people drink themselves into oblivion – it’s sad, really. On the other hand, as you will surmise from reading other blogs, I am fond of a brew or two and thus I do not begrudge the same for those of legal age who drink responsibly.

PS. Joke found on the Internet (attributed to Sunita Saini of University of California, Davis):

A stats major was completely hung over the day of her final exam. It was a True/False test, so she decided to flip a coin for the answers. The stats professor watched the student the entire two hours as she was flipping the coin...writing the answer...flipping the coin...writing the answer.

At the end of the two hours, everyone else had left the final except for the one student. The professor walks up to her desk and interrupts the student, saying: "Listen, I have seen that you did not study for this statistics test, you didn't even open the exam. If you are just flipping a coin for your answer, what is taking you so long?"

The student replies bitterly (as she is still flipping the coin): "Shhh! I am checking my answers!"


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