Tag Archives: teach statistics before calculus

Watch this right now

This gentleman is my new favorite living human being.


I’d add that linear algebra is an important middle step as well. A lot of stuff that I really enjoy in the field of statistics is stuff I wouldn’t understand nearly as well had I not taken linear algebra.

Ideal universe:
Basic statistics (like the stuff I’m teaching) –> Linear algebra –> more advanced statistics (FA, PCA, SEM) –> calculus (or taught concurrently with the previous) –> mathematical statistics

In my personal experience, I was able to get to SEM-level without calculus. I took calculus, but I never really used it in the context of stats.

But now that I’m taking it again, even at the basic level of 170, I’m seeing how this will apply to statistics (especially mathematical stats). And that’s super exciting.

So I don’t think this idea of “stats before calc” discounts the importance of calculus. Rather, I think it focuses on this idea of “practical versus theoretical” understanding. Statistics, especially very basic statistics, is something I think everyone should know. It’s practical, it’s applicable in every field. Calculus gives you a stronger understanding of WHY it’s so practical and applicable (at least in my opinion).

So yeah. Dr. Benjamin was also on the Colbert Report some time ago. I’ll have to find that vid.

Haha, speaking of the Report, I’m going to go watch the Maurice Sendak interviews again.