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The what and why of statistics
Statistics can help provide concrete examples of a larger trend, give the basis for an important chart or graph, or make theoretical arguments tangible.
There are two main branches of statistics:
- Descriptive--concerns the numerical or quantitative data alone, and can help draw conclusions about a sample, rather than a population.
- Inferential--concerns the conclusions drawn about an entire population which are infered through the results of a random sampling of a population
Be aware of bias in statistics! Numbers can be manipulated, and charts and graphs can be arranged to give a certain impression. Always double-check your facts!
If you're looking for statistics about education, these are some good places to begin searching.
- National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
A division of the Department of Education that publishes a number of statistical resources including the Digest of Education Statistics, Education Statistics Quarterly, the annual Condition of Education, and Projections of Education Statistics to 2013.
International education information and statistics provided by WorldBank.
- US Census Educational Attainment
United States Census information concerning educational attainment.
- Unesco Education
Specializes in compiling statistics in the areas of culture & communication, education, and science & technology. A good source for data on international education. Click on Statistics in the Services section in the right column.