Key research findings:

  • More than half of students enrolling in early iterations of the project-based course reported receiving more individualized support compared to other courses they had taken and 43.8% felt that the individualized support was more useful than what they had received in other courses.
  • Fully 84.4% of students reported interest in one or more follow-up courses with interest in computer programming being endorsed by the largest number of students (53.1%).
  • Higher rates of under-represented minority (URM) students chose the project-based course over a traditional introductory statistics course.
  • The project-based course also enrolled significantly more females and students with significantly lower math SAT scores compared to introductory computer programming courses.
  • While URM students considered the material on average to be more difficult than non-URM students enrolled in the project-based course, URM students demonstrated similar levels of increased confidence in applied skills and interest in follow up courses compared to non-URM students. They were also found to be twice as likely as non-URM students to report that their interest in conducting research increased.
  • Students enrolled in the project-based course were more likely to show an increase in their interest in pursuing advanced course-work in statistics compared to students enrolled in a traditional statistics course (41.5% compared to 26.6%).
  • The course has been successfully delivered at liberal arts colleges, large state universities, regional college/universities, community colleges, and high schools.
  • While students from liberal arts colleges generally reported more positive course experiences than students from other educational settings, students from regional colleges/universities reported being more likely to have learned more in the project-based course than in other college courses they had taken.
  • Based on an adapted version of the curriculum for high school students, the experience was rated on average as “very rewarding” and the vast majority (70.0%) of students felt that they had accomplished more than they had expected.


Dierker, L., Flaming, K., Cooper, J., Singer-Freeman, K., Germano, K., & Rose, J. (2018). Evaluation impact: A comparison of learning experiences and outcomes of students completing a traditional versus multidisciplinary, project-based introductory statistics course. International Journal of Education, Training and Learning, 2(1), 16-28.

Dierker, L., Robertson Evia, J., Singer-Freeman, K., Woods, K., Zupkus, J., Arnholt, A., Moliski, E.G., Delia Deckard, N. Gallagher, K., Rose, J., (2018), Project-based learning in introductory statistics: Comparing course experiences and predicting positive outcomes for students from diverse educational settings, International Journal of Educational Technology and Learning, 3(2), 52-64. DOI: 10.20448/2003.32.52.64

High School students in Data Driven Storytelling: An examination of learning experiences and outcomes for a cohort of rising seniors enrolled in the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Program (GEAR UP), Journal of Education and Training Studies. 5 (4).
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Cooper, J., Dierker, L. (2017) Increasing Exposure to Programming: A Comparison of Demographic Characteristics of Students Enrolled in Introductory Computer Science Programming Courses vs. a Multidisciplinary Data Analysis Course, International Research in Higher Education, 2 (1).
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Dierker, L., Alexander, J., Cooper, J., Selya, A., Rose, J. Dasgupta, N. (2016) Engaging diverse students in statistical inquiry: A comparison of learning experiences and outcomes of under-represented and non-underrepresented students enrolled in a multidisciplinary project-based statistics course, International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 10(1), 1-9.
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Dierker, L., Cooper, J., Selya, A., Alexander, J., Rose, J. (2015) Evaluating access: A comparison of demographic and disciplinary characteristics of students enrolled in a traditional introductory statistics course vs. a multidisciplinary, project-based course, Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies of Education. 4(1), 22-37.
Link article to this site

Dierker L, Kaparakis E, Rose J, Selya A, Beveridge D. Strength in Numbers: A multidisciplinary, project-based approach to introductory statistics education. Journal of Effective Teaching. 2012; 12(2):4-14.
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