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Vexed By College Statistics Courses? New Approaches Emphasize Practical Learning

College-level math is a big obstacle to graduation for many California students -- and statistics is often the biggest roadblock within the curriculum.

Universities are revisiting a decades-old effort to improve the teaching of statistics by focusing introductory classes on concepts and showing how they apply in the real world before teaching the formulas that trip up many students.

The study of statistics helps students collect, interpret, and draw conclusions from data. It’s useful in everything from predicting patterns of human behavior to creating algorithms to help you choose which movie to stream.

Teachers and administrators say a better understanding of statistics is crucial in two ways:  it prepares students for the growing number of jobs in data analysis, and society benefits when more people see nuance.