(Screen shot from Fact Sheet)

In a high school statistics course, it is normal to use technology to analyze data, and make inferences. The technology most readily available are graphing calculators, which depending on the make and model, are satisfactory. The use of a dedicated statistical software program like SAS University Edition is a great addition to the class. The fact that it is free is astounding and welcome news for schools on tight budgets that need tools for students to use.

I have used Fathom Dynamic Data Software in my statistics class in the past, but our technology has improved, and the licenses expired, so it was time to update. I have personally used Minitab 10 (current version is Minitab 17) and liked the user-friendly program to analyze data. While searching for some ideas and resources, I came across SAS, a well-known, reputable software program that is advertised as free! I clicked on the link and began learning about it.

I have not used this program and decided to evaluate its use in my statistics class. After downloading the program and performing a range of analysis, it has impressed me to the point of endorsing its use in my class. It is not an easy program to master right away, but there are multiple resources, tutorials, documentation, and user communities to assist you. I liked the ability to “point and click” items to perform the varied analyses, but for those that want more control and custom ability, there is an option to write code programs to run statistics. For my class though, it is sufficient to use the “point and click” ability. I was impressed with the variety of graphs it can produce that look professional and can be exported as Word files, or PDF files. Any result can be exported as well: tables, numerical summaries, regression analysis, lists, etc. They can be used to supplement and enhance research papers, reports, and assignments. The program can also save your progress in analysis for later use, so there is no need to complete your analysis in one sitting.

SAS University Edition can be used in any statistical analysis that is required in our statistics course, so there are no limitations. It is a complete package that can accompany any lesson or content section in our curriculum. I anticipate that I would be able to have students use about two dozen functions in SAS, and they can be taught how to use it in assignments and projects with little difficulty.

References:

SAS University Edition (2016). Retrieved from https://www.sas.com/content/dam/SAS/en_us/doc/factsheet/sas-university-edition-107140.pdf

Gerald,

I love SAS, I have used it for Business Intelligence gathering like for data mining and forecasting sales trends. The navigation is very easy to use and I found the standard reports to be great. I can see how this tool can be used in a Math class. I like that you used a real world tool as your classroom example.

Great post.

Josie

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I had never heard of SAS. It looks like something that would be good to share with the high school math staff. You mentioned that it might take a little time to learn the program. Do you think that you will go through it with students or let them explore it and figure it out on there own?

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I think you would definitely teach the kids how to initially use it, but as far as learning how to use the different functions, they can use the tutorials and support materials to help them figure it out. They can play with it too. Nothing is better than playing with software! You can learn so much by exploring!

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As someone who will be using SPSS in the somewhat near future, do you think SAS stands as a reliable alternative to what most consider to be the industry standard (from what I’ve been told) in statistical analysis of research? Is it free to everyone or just University students? If there is a paid version, are the tools less advanced in the free version? Sorry for the questions, but I’m intrigued.

Either way, I think it’s great that you’re introducing your students to real world tools and giving them usable skills they can employ later in the job market, should they choose to do so!

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Would you say that this technology is best used in a class that is dedicated to Statistics? Or would you maybe use the program for a unit of statistics? We don’t have a course that is dedicated to Stats but we do have units of statistics and probability in most levels of math classes. I believe that this is a very valuable program to teach especially if students will work with various data sets in the future. I am thinking salmon and various variables that might effect the salmon population.

FYI. I tried to post this Saturday but my home internet was terrible. I had to wait to come in to work today. 😦

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SAS is definitely geared for a statistics class. There might be some uses for basic statistics in other classes, but there are plenty of other programs that can do the same without going through all the hoopla of downloading this program. I don’t know what you will do with your salmon data, but other than a graphing calculator, you might want to consider Desmos, the online graphing calculator. It’s pretty powerful and can run linear regression, and numerical summaries.

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