DEVELOPING UNDERGRADUATE MATHEMATICS STUDENTS’ CONCEPTUAL KNOWLEDGE ABOUT THE SAMPLING DISTRIBUTION OF THE SAMPLE MEAN AND CENTRAL LIMIT THEOREM

Charles K. Assuah

Abstract


This study highlights some practical steps lecturers could utilize to develop undergraduate mathematics students’ conceptual knowledge about the sampling distribution of the sample mean and Central Limit Theorem. An intact class of fifty (50) first-year undergraduate mathematics students were selected from a university in Ghana. Through guided inquiry, the students individually, and in their respective groups, completed specific tasks assigned to them by their lecturer. The tasks included, computing the sample means, probabilities, variances, and drawing the sampling distribution of the sample means. The students answered questions from their lecturer to conceptually understand the sampling distribution of the sample mean and how that engages them to understand the Central Limit Theorem. The results indicated that the use of the guided inquiry for instruction greatly enhances students’ conceptual knowledge about the sampling distribution of the sample means and the Central Limit Theorem. An implication of this study is that lecturers should allow students to develop mathematical concepts from simple case scenarios, and guide them gradually to transition seamlessly into understanding complex scenarios. Lecturers, therefore, should be encouraged to use technology and simulations to explain statistical concepts to their students.


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