10th International
Conference on
Teaching Statistics
8 – 13 July 2018
Kyoto, Japan
Contributed paper list

Contributed Paper C280

In session   (,   )

A new approach to teaching hypothesis testing to beginning students in business


Tommy Tang (Australia)


Educators generally agree hypothesis testing is a threshold concept in learning statistics. A deep understanding of the threshold concept enables learners to develop a new way of seeing the reality. Introductory statistics textbooks typically present the critical value approach to hypothesis testing, and then introduce the p-value approach as an alternative. The critical value approach is often presented as a 5 or 6 steps process, specifying the test statistics and the decision rule. Many students are observed learning hypothesis testing by memorising these steps, rather than understanding the underpinning principle. This paper proposes that hypothesis testing can be introduced much earlier when discrete probability distributions are taught, and simulations can be used, to deepen students’ understanding of the underlying principle.