University of Maryland University College Statistic Questions


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Question 1

Probability tells us the chance or likelihood that a particular event will occur. Whether or not we realize it, every day we use probability to make decisions. For instance, when deciding whether to take an umbrella, we check the weather forecast to see the probability that it will rain. In this instance, probability tells us the likelihood that it will rain; however, the decision about taking an umbrella is based on an individual’s willingness to risk getting rained on. Some people will take an umbrella, when the probability of rain is at least 40%, while others will wait until the probability is at least 60%.

What are two examples in which you have used probability to make a decision? One example should be from your personal life and one from your work life. If you do not work, show two examples from your personal life. Provide specific numeric values to show how the decision was made. Share this in your initial post to the discussion, which is due by 11:59 pm EST on Saturday.

Question 2

By now you are adept at calculating averages and intuitively can estimate whether something is “normal” (a measurement not too far from average) or unusual (pretty far from the average you might expect). This class helps to quantify exactly how far something you measure is from average using the normal distribution. Basically, you mark the mean down the middle of the bell curve, calculate the standard deviation of your sample and then add (or subtract) that value to come up with the mile markers (z scores) that measure the distance from the mean.

For example, if the average height of adult males in the United States is 69 inches with a standard deviation of 3 inches, we could create the graph below.

Men who are somewhere between 63 and 75 inches tall would be considered of a fairly normal height. Men shorter than 63″ or taller than 75″ would be considered unusual (assuming our sample data represents the actual population). You could use a z score to look up exactly what percentage of men are shorter than (or taller than) a particular height.

Think of something in your work or personal life that you measure regularly (no actual calculation of the mean, standard deviation or z scores is necessary). What value is “average”? What values would you consider to be unusually high or unusually low? If a value were unusually high or low—how would it change your response to the measurement? This serves as your initial post to the discussion and is due by 11:59 pm EST on Saturday.

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