UNM Stat 495/595: Statistics Education Practicum (SEP)

Fall 2016

Fall 2016 schedule; Stat 495.002 or Stat 595.001, CRN 13764 or 55072 (named “Individual Study”); Same time and location as ADA1.
Contact Erik before registering, it requires Instructor’s Permission.

Spring 2016; STAT 495.001 or STAT 595.—, CRN 13761 or —[course is being created, check back soon]  (named “Individual Study”); Same time and location as ADA2.
Contact Erik before registering, it requires Instructor’s Permission.

Fall 2015 schedule; Stat 495.002 or Stat 595.001, CRN 13764 or 55072 (named “Individual Study”); Same time and location as ADA1.
Contact Erik before registering, it requires Instructor’s Permission.

ADA2 Peer Mentors, Spring 2017

Alicia Dominguez, ADA course alumnus
Grace Mayer, ADA course alumnus

ADA1 Peer Mentors, Fall 2016

Alicia Dominguez, former student.
Andrew Nathan Hollis, former student.
Ayed Alanzi, stat graduate student.

ADA2 Peer Mentors, Spring 2016

Carrie Booth <>, Education grad student, ADA course alumnus and Delta Alpha Pi Honor Society (Disability Achievement Pride) Member
John Pesko, Stat PhD candidate
Igor Litvinovich, Stat graduate student
Adam Barkalow, ADA course alumnus

ADA1 Peer Mentors, Fall 2015

Carrie Booth <>, Education grad student, ADA course alumnus and Delta Alpha Pi Honor Society (Disability Achievement Pride) Member
Armida Carbajal <>, Stat grad student
Andisheh Dadashi <>, Stat grad student
Jerry Hatch <>, ADA course alumnus, Stat MS student
John Pesko <>, Stat PhD student
Ana Oaxaca <>, ADA course alumnus
Juan Pablo Madrigal Cianci <>, Applied Math grad student, ADA course alumnus
Angela Gregory <>, ADA course alumnus, MS
Erin Ochoa <>, ADA course alumnus

Comments on course evaluations about Peer Mentors:

What features of this course and of the instructor’s teaching contributed most to your learning?

  • I really loved this class. The instructor and TAs were enthusiastic and helpful even during times of chaos. I didn’t know what to expect from the new classroom format, but I think it was really helpful to work on assignments in class and do the reading at home.
  • Very hands-on teaching and lots of help from TAs.
  • The video lectures and the TAs were most helpful.
  • Having the TAs, peer mentors, and professor come around and answer questions throughout the course was helpful.
  • The in-class assignments and “flipped” structure of the class made it very accessible. The peer mentors were all immensely helpful.
  • Very enthusiastic, helpful, and understanding. The TA’s were also beneficial in the class-type setting.
  • Working in groups and having the help of the TA.



This course will serve students who are pursuing their undergraduate or graduate degree in a variety of disciplines but who want to expand their skills in statistics and applied data analysis in preparation for a future career. It will also serve students who are currently pursuing independent, quantitative research at the undergraduate or graduate level. This course is aimed at providing students with an opportunity to enhance their statistical skills beyond the introductory level.

The course will center on personal interaction in support of introductory/intermediate statistics students in ADA1 (Stat 427/527) or ADA2 (Stat 428/528). Active peer mentoring and supporting experiences will be based on the theory that good teachers (and learners) of statistics need to be developed, as opposed to being trained. In line with this theory, this hands-on course will provide an intensive opportunity to build specific knowledge regarding teaching and learning in the area of data-driven statistical inquiry.

Students enrolled in this course will (a) provide one-on-one support for introductory/intermediate statistics students during workshop-oriented class sessions (2.5 hours/week — primary responsibility), that is, come to class; (b) attend statistics mentoring development sessions (rare, as needed); (c) monitoring and critique Learn discussions to resolve coding and applied data assignment questions (one hour/week); and (d) lead small group mentored meetings for six to eight statistics students (near end of course, a few times as needed). Grade will be primarily based on attendance at all class meetings and efficacy in helping students succeed, and secondarily on course evaluation to instructor for what worked or not (for continuous improvement).

Prerequisite: Stat 427/527 (or other intermediate stats course), by permission of instructor
Semesters offered: Fall and Spring
Lecture: See Stat 427/527 ADA1 or Stat 428/528 ADA2
Email: “Erik B. Erhardt” <>, please include “ADA1” or “ADA2” in subject line
Dierker, L. (2013), Passion Driven Statistics iBook
Franklin, C., & Garfield, J. (2006), The Guidelines For Assessment And Instruction In Statistics Education (Gaise) Project: Developing Statistics Education Guidelines For Pre K-12 And College Courses.
Roseth, C.J., Garfield, J.B., and Ben-Zvi, D. (2008), Collaboration in Learning and Teaching Statistics. Journal Of Statistics Education, 16(1).
Garfield, J. (2009), Preparing Teachers Of Statistics: A Graduate Course For Future Teachers
… and others.
Examination and Assignments: Peer mentoring responsibilities.

Benefits of the Peer Mentor experience

My experience as a Peer Mentor has allowed me to …

  • … Develop my ability to communicate effectively and confidently with my peers.”
  • … Understand the learning process and the important role of peer-to-peer interaction in developing and retaining new information.”
  • … Expand my skills as a team member to lead group discussion, mentor my peers, and exchange ideas confidently with professors, coworkers, and students.”
  • … Critically evaluate, understand, and revise logical arguments”
  • … Examine and produce questions that demand critical thinking and promote discussion.”
  • … Understand differing viewpoints and cultural traditions”
  • … Use online resources and scholarly literature to answer questions.”
  • … Experience classroom dynamics between teacher and student from an alternative perspective that promotes classroom management.”
  • … Practice authoring and revising learning materials”
  • … Learn new technologies, such as UNM Learn from an instructor’s perspective.”
  • … Get exposure to the teaching side of the classroom as experience for a future career.”

Our goal: improve student success

  • Peer Mentors enable the instructors (Prof and TAs) to use active-learning techniques that would otherwise be very challenging in a large class size with a single instructor.
  • They also help to keep students “on task,” and help facilitate learning at the individual level.
  • The use of Peer Mentors in conjunction with active-learning in the classroom suggests improved student attendance, student participation, student attitudes and learning gains.

Active learning

Students learn best when they take an active role:
When they discuss what they are reading.
When they practice what they are learning.
When they apply practices and ideas.
Active learning is not just “hands on”, it’s also “minds on”.

Active learning approaches that involve students working with each other during class feature three essential elements for student learning:

  1. Active learning engages students in their learning.
  2. Active learning increases students’ time on task to construct knowledge.
  3. Active learning takes advantage of peer influence.

Peer Mentors augment in many ways

Primary in-classroom roles

  • Work with small groups of learners to support the successful completion of in-class assignments or to lead small-group in-class discussions.
  • Clarifying and explaining assignment expectations or introducing the discussion.
  • Checking answers when requested by students who desire to build confidence before moving on with an exercise.
  • Employing the Socratic approach of answering student questions with new questions that support successful completion of, and learning from, in-class assignments and discussions.

Other ways to help in the classroom

  • Providing feedback on assignments to students.
  • Acting as liaisons between the instructor and students.
  • Providing feedback to the instructor on areas of confusion for students.
  • Giving insight to instructors about what is relevant and interesting to their student peers.
  • Keeping students on track during activities.
  • Observing student reactions to exercises or topics of discussion.
  • Source of information to students for on-campus and other resources.

Outside the classroom

  • Acting as liaisons between the instructor and students.
  • Writing potential test, quiz and “clicker” questions.
  • Providing feedback to the instructor on areas of confusion for students.
  • Giving insight to instructors about what is relevant and interesting to their student peers.
  • Grading low stakes in-class assignments and entering these grades, while keeping student information confidential.
  • Proposing changes or improvements to activities.
  • Source of information to students for on-campus and other resources.
  • One-on-one office hours or small group study session facilitation.
  • Advice on study skills, e.g., making a reference sheet, and habits of successful students.

How we’ll work together (Prof Erik and PMs)

  • Set clear expectations in and out of class work.
  • PMs are student experts, and can lean on Prof as content expert.
    Encourage and enable the PMs to get to know their students and win their trust.
  • Enjoy being able to extend a personal connection to your students and engage them in a deeper learning!


  • Weekly meetings, as needed (each Tuesday morning, or Monday afternoon?).
  • Overview of the week’s topic in a broader context.
  • Expectations of the coming week, including logistics.
  • Prepare for each week by looking through weekly assignments (possibly completing in-class assignments on your own).
  • Prof will share answers to in-class exercises and clear up difficulties before confronting students.
  • Discuss effective methods of facilitating discussion.
  • Brainstorm areas of difficulty for students and practice answering common questions.
  • Feedback from students on forthcoming assignments and past assignments.
  • Open forum for any student issues.
  • Discuss classroom dynamics.
  • Follow-up on graded assignments (problem areas, changes, suggestions).


85% of students enrolled in STEM courses responded in polls that they prefer to learn in classes where collaborative learning replaces some or all of instructor lecture.
90% stated that it was important to have Peer Mentors as classroom resources.
Thus, courses with Peer Mentors experience less withdrawals, increased passing rates, and higher grades (when used properly).

(Thanks to Aurora Pun and Sushilla Knottenbelt for ideas on this page.)

Acumen in Statistics