East Carolina University
Department of Psychology

PSYC 2101: Psychological Statistics, Section 003, Spring, 2017

Instructors: Karl L. Wuensch & Jordan Ellis  

Meeting Time: Graduate Assistant Jordan Ellis will meet with you in Rawl 135 on Wednesdays from 11:00 AM until 12:50 PM.

Online Lectures:  When you registered for this class, in Self-Service Banner, you should have noticed that this is an online class (aka "World Wide Web Instructional Method").  There are, however, mandatory face-to-face meetings, once a week.  When taught 100% face-to-face, this class meets five hours a week (three hours of lecture and two hours of lab).  The lab component of this class is face-to-face, making this a hybrid course -- that is, it includes both online and face-to-face components -- 60% online and 40% face-to-face.  All of the lectures will be in text format on the web.  You have elected to take an online class. By registering for an online class, you have indicated that you are computer literate and that you have good access to a well-functioning computer with Internet access.  Accordingly, lack of competence or access will not constitute acceptable excuses for missing assignments or examinations, excepting emergencies that can be documented.  You are expected to check your ECU email every day and to log in to BlackBoard every day.  Take this survey to see whether or not online instruction is right for you.   It is important that you check your ECU email every day for class-related announcements and log into BlackBoard every day to check for any announcements that might appear there.

Face-to-Face Laboratory Meetings: Jordan will meet with you on Wednesdays to conduct hands-on laboratory activities.

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Required Text

Syllabus: Click here to see a formal list of the topics we shall cover this semester.


    There will be a considerable amount of homework. Most students best learn stats by doing it. You should do even more than is assigned.  We may or may not collect and grade any particular assignment and we do not give advance notification of whether an assignment will be graded or not. Prepare them all as if they were to be graded. 

    The typical assignment in this class involves your analyzing a set of research data and preparing a report in which you convey the results of your analysis and interpretation of the results.  Your reports should be prepared in a professional manner.  Grammar counts:  Those who use poor grammar are less likely to get a good job and less likely to get promotions than those who use proper grammar.

   With respect to late homework:

Document Formats

    You will be required to submit several documents, as attachments to email, this semester.  Acceptable formats are .docx, .doc, or if necessary, .rtf.  Not acceptable are .pages documents, as they are Mac-only documents, are a pain to convert, and do not convert well.  Also not acceptable are pdf, htm, or html documents.  When I grade your assignments, I use Word's track changes function to annotate your document, showing you what mistakes you made and how to correct them.  Your document needs to be in Word format for me to do that.  Learn more about Track Changes here.


   This statistical package has a GUI interface, which allows you to point and click your way through basic analyses.  SPSS is available to ECU students in the computer labs on campus and through the Virtual Computer Lab [see Virtual Computing Lab], and it can be purchased from IBM, but I recommend downloading it, for free, from ECU. We shall be using SPSS often during this semester.

Weekly Quizzes and Final Exam

    In addition to a comprehensive, face-to-face, final exam [1100-1250, Wednesday the 19th of April, in Rawl 135, you can expect to have weekly quizzes, administered by Jordan during the Wednesday lab meetings.  The most likely format for these quizzes is multiple choice and true-false, but it is possible that other formats will be used.  You should check out Professor Karl's Tips for Students Taking Multiple Choice Tests before taking his quizzes.  There will be time limits imposed -- that is, you must complete each quiz within a specified time period.

    The final examination will not be administered online.  It will be scored with an optical scanner, so be sure to bring a Number 2 pencil with a good eraser and an optical scan "bubble sheet," 8.5 inches by 11 inches, blue on white.  On the final examination, you may five summary sheets (8.5 x 11 inches, both sides) on which you have hand-written anything you want.  Professor Karl's insists on it being hand-written because he knows that preparing it helps you learn the material, but simply copying and pasting material into a document teaches you next to nothing. Do not rely on your summary sheet providing you the answers to many of the questions on the quizzes and the final exam.  If you have not studied the material, you will probably not have enough time to find the answers on your summary sheets.  You are not permitted to use other notes, books, the computer, or any electronic communication devices during the final exam.

    Most, if not all, of the quizzes may be administered online.  When taking an online quiz, unless explicitly stated otherwise, you ARE permitted to use books, notes, Internet resources, most anything except another person.  You must be physically present in the lab to take an online quiz.  If you have a university-approved reason for missing a lab meeting, you will need to arrange to take it at another time in a proctored environment.  While you may use the Internet to look up answers to questions, you are unlikely to have enough time to do that for many questions.  One minute is allowed for each true/false question and two minutes for each multiple-choice question.  It is recommended that you do NOT use the same browser for taking the quiz that you use for searching the Internet for answers -- if you use the same browser for both tasks you risk locking up the browser you are using to take the quiz.

    The time limit for online quizzes is strictly enforced.  If you go over the time limit, your answers will be automatically submitted.


    During every lab meeting there will be assignments that are designed to teach you something new, typically how to perform and interpret a particular statistical analysis.  Since many of these assignments are not collected and graded, some students just don't complete them.  Then Professor Karl gives an assignment that will be collected and graded, and those who blew off the earlier assignment, having not learned how to do such an analysis, are, well, up the creek.  A distressingly large number of students come to lab, take the quiz, and then leave without completing the assignments.  These students rarely do well in the course.


    The first quiz, on the content of the syllabus, earns you up to ten points.  Each of the other weekly quizzes earns you up to ten points (possibly more if extra credit items are included).  The final exam earns you up to 100 points.  Other assignments are a bit of a wild card -- while you can expect most often to be able to earn up to twenty points per assignment, some assignments may carry more or less than twenty points credit.  The number of assignments for the semester varies from semester to semester.

    At the end of the semester, each student's total points earned will be converted into a P score by diving the total points by the Mean for Mastery and then multiplying by 100.  The Mean for Mastery is the average total points earned by the top-scoring one-tenth of the students.  Then I find the class mean and standard deviation for all students'  P scores. I exclude any outliers (see Tukey's definition of "outlier" in your text) during the computation of the mean and standard deviation.  I also exclude any highliers (scores greater than 110) and any lowliers (scores less than 50).   I use this mean and standard deviation to transform each student's mean P score to a Z score (see your text for a definition of "Z-score").  The P and Z scores are then converted to letter grades as indicated in the table below.  Each student will have two letter grades, one from P and one from Z.  Whichever of these is higher is the one awarded.

Grade Quality Points P score Z score
A 4.0 94 < P 1.20 < z
A- 3.7 90 < P < 94 1.00 < z < 1.20
B+ 3.3 87 < P < 90 0.75 < z < 1.00
B 3.0 83 < P < 87 0.50 < z < 0.75
B- 2.7 80 < P < 83 0.25 < z < 0.50
C+ 2.3 77 < P < 80 0.00 < z < 0.25
C 2.0 73 < P < 77 -0.40 < z < 0.00
C- 1.7 70 < P < 73 -0.75 < z < -0.40
D+ 1.3 67 < P < 70 -1.00 < z < -0.75
D 1.0 63 < P < 67 -1.25 < z < -1.00
D- 0.7 60 < P < 63 -1.50 < z < -1.25
F 0.0  <  60 < -1.50

    Plus/Minus grading came to ECU in the Fall of 2012.  The table above is from the recommendation of the Admission and Retention Policies Committee .

    Please see the University Catalog for definitions of letter grades.  Do note that the grade of 'C' is defined as "adequately meets basic course expectations," in other words, "average."

Posting of Grades

    If you would like to have your grades posted on the web, where you can view them at any time, you need to fill out the Grade Posting Form and return it to Professor Karl. To bring the form into your word processor, just click onto the link for the form. After you have filled out the form, give it to Jordan or email it to Professor Karl. Unless you complete this form, indicating that you wish to have your grades posted as described on the form, and deliver it to Professor Karl, your grades will not be posted. You can find the link to posted grades near the bottom of this document.

Final Grades

 Please do not beg for a better grade after final grades are posted.  Final grades are, well,  final, with only two exceptions:


    On exams and graded class-work, I expect you to work independently - no help from your classmates. On exams, I may be willing to "sell" you (for a few points) a piece of information you need to complete a problem. On homework, you may compare answers (not immediately before handing it in) with a classmate - if they disagree, you should both go over the problem step-by-step to find the error. Do not simply copy the work of another student - I have a very good record of detecting such plagiarism - it is easier to detect than you might suspect, and it is usually easier to do your own work fairly than to be an undetectable plagiarist. The penalty for plagiarism or other cheating is an 'F' for the course with additional disciplinary action possible. See Academic Integrity .

13 Hours a Week Outside of Lab Meetings

    You can master the content of this course, but, for most students, it requires a good deal of steady work. The usual rule, for face-to-face classes, is that you should spend 2 hours outside class for every hour within class.  That translates to 10 hr/week outside class for this five contact hour course, admittedly more than you would need spend on most Psychology courses. Furthermore, since your lecture hours arel not face-to-face, you should plan on spending 13 hours a week outside of lab hours.  Do not fall behind - understanding material later in the course depends upon mastery of the concepts taught earlier. 

Major Objective of This Course

    The major objective of this course is to familiarize you with the basic concepts of descriptive and inferential statistics. Those of you who will go on to take additional courses in statistics or research or accept employment involving research should find this course most instrumental. Many of you may never engage in research, but you will be consumers of research. Adequately to evaluate the research reports that you will be reading for other courses or for your professional or personal advancement, you must understand the basic concepts taught in this course. Statistics can be used to distort the truth; you need to learn how to detect such distortions.  For a detailed list of the goals for this course, please see Behavioral Objectives for This Course .


    PSYC 1000 is a prerequisite for this course. We expect you to know enough about general psychology to understand the psychological research we shall discuss. A second prerequisite for this course is MATH 1065 or MATH 1066, or an equivalent course in college algebra.


    The requirements of this course are: A. successful completion of quizzes and the final exam and B. successful completion of other assignments.

Email to the Instructors:

    The instructors have programmed Outlook to sort incoming mail into different folders.  You should include in the subject line of your email the phrase "PSYC 2101:" -- if you do, it will be properly sorted and your instructors will find it.  If you do not, your email will end up here:  , where it is unlikely to get much attention.  How to email your professor.

Disabled Students

    East Carolina University seeks to comply fully with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Students requesting accommodations based on a disability must be registered with the Department for Disability Support Services located in Slay 138 (252) 737-1016 (Voice/TTY).


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Contact Information for the Webmaster,
Dr. Karl L. Wuensch

This page most recently revised on 13-January-2017.  It is a living document -- do not be surprised if it changes during the semester.