STA 309 Elementary Business Statistics
Spring 2014: MWF 8-9, 9-10 & 10-11
Prerequisites: Math 408C or 408K and Math 408D or 408L

Dr. Gail Gemberling
Office: CBA 2.224
Office Hours: Mon. & Wed. 12-1:30 or by Appointment
Phone: 471-5218

Navneet Vyas Ramachandran (Teaching Assistant)
CBA 4.304A
Office Hours:  TTH 1:30-3 PM

Course Overview:

A course in basic statistics is offered in a wide variety of disciplines--from the social sciences to business to the natural sciences. The same statistical methods are applied across disciplines. Therefore it should not be surprising that the tools you will learn to use in this course will benefit you in your future courses and careers regardless of whether your career interest is Finance, Accounting, MIS, Management, Marketing, or outside the business realm. In this course you will learn basic descriptive statistical methods, sampling methodology, how to draw inferences from samples to larger populations and how to make predictions based upon historical relationships between variables.

This course has been designated a Quantitative Reasoning flag course by the University College. Quantitative Reasoning courses are designed to equip you with skills that are necessary for understanding the types of quantitative arguments you will regularly encounter in your adult and professional life. You should therefore expect a substantial portion of your grade to come from your use of quantitative skills to analyze real-world problems.

My experience has shown that statistics is best taught through a series of clear and carefully worked examples. Therefore, theoretical background in descriptive and inferential statistical methods will be provided, however a great deal of time will be spent teaching you how to apply the theory to the real world. Statistics is not about memorizing formulas. Instead it is about recognizing the appropriate statistical test to perform in a given situation. This requires practice on the part of the student. As we cover the topics, if you do not have a clear understanding of one topic it is wise to seek help immediately. The next topic will build upon the previous one. Please allow us to assist you as soon as you find that you have questions.


Moore, D. S., McCabe, G. P., Duckworth, W. M., & Alwan, L. C. The Practice of Business Statistics; W. H. Freeman & Company (second edition), 2009. You do not need to purchase the study guide or any Excel manuals.

Course Packets: Can be purchased at the GSB Copy Center (GSB 3.136)

Notes for Chapters 6, 7, 8 & 9 (these will only be helpful if used during lecture in class and are not a substitute for coming to class)-for use after Test 1.
Sample Exams 1, 2 & 3

Grading Procedure:

2 Tests and Final Exam: Test 1 worth 25%; Test 2 worth 25%; Final worth 30%
10 Homework Assignments worth a total of 20% (7 written and 3 using Excel)

Historically, cutoffs for course grades are as follows: A (94), A- (90), B+ (87), B (80), C+ (77), C (70), D+ (67), D (60).   

Exams and Homework:

There will be 2 tests and a final exam given at designated times during the semester. They will be multiple-choice and will require computation and interpretation of the various statistical methods covered in this course. For the tests and the final exam, you will each be allowed to bring a single 8.5 by 11 inch sheet of paper with any formulas or conceptual items you may need written on it. You are responsible for deciding what to write on this sheet and you may write on both sides of it. Sample exams may be found in the course packets. All exams will be given during regular class time in the regular classroom.

Written homework to be turned in for a grade will be distributed via e-mail as we cover each topic. Due dates will be laid out in these e-mails and also announced in class although approximate due dates are listed below. When you turn in these written homework assignments, you will also need to attach your practice problems from the textbook listed on the class website (see below) and turn them in as well. These practice problems are graded for completeness only although you will need to turn them in to receive credit for the graded homework. In addition, there will be 3 homework assignments using Excel (posted on the class web page) to be completed and turned in for a grade. Brief explanations regarding how to perform various statistical tests in Excel are available on the class web page under the Handouts link, however we will go over some of these methods in class.

Written Homework should be done neatly with answers circled and all work shown. Homework will only be accepted in hard copy form and not via e-mail. Homework not turned in by the time the papers are taken from the classroom at the end of the 10 AM class (10:50) will be assessed a 10% late penalty. Homework will not be accepted after 3 PM on the due date. If you wish to turn in a late assignment and we are not available, please take your paper up to the IROM Office (CBA 5.202) and ask one of the people in the office to write the date and time and their initials at the top and to put your paper in my mailbox.

Homework Assignment

Approximate Due Date

Chapter 1 (to be sent to you via e-mail)

Wednesday, Jan. 29

Chapter 2 (to be sent to you via e-mail)

Monday, Feb. 3

Chapter 3 & 4 (to be sent to you via e-mail)

Monday, Feb. 10

Excel 1 (posted on class web page)

Friday, Feb. 14

Chapter 6 (to be sent to you via e-mail)

Monday, Mar. 3

Chapter 7 (to be sent to you via e-mail)

Monday, Mar. 24

Excel 2 (posted on class web page)

Friday, Mar. 28

Chapter 8 (to be sent to you via e-mail)

Wednesday, Apr.  16

Chapter 9 (to be sent to you via e-mail)

Wednesday, Apr. 23

Excel 3 (posted on the class web page)

Monday,  Apr. 28


Additional Practice (Essential for the Exams):

Selected written homework problems from the textbook (listed under the Homework link on the class web page) will also be assigned for exam preparation purposes. You should do these as we go through the material as this will provide important practice for the exams and the homework that is to be turned in for a grade. These must be attached to your homework with each chapter in order to receive your grade for that chapter. Once these have been turned in, I will post the solutions under the Homework link on the website.

Your proficiency with statistics will improve with active practice. This means working problems and understanding and explaining your results. The textbook has about 100 problems per chapter from which to gain additional practice. Answers to all odd-numbered problems are given in the back of the textbook.

Other Course Materials:

You will need a calculator for this course to be used with homework and brought to the tests. A basic calculator that adds, subtracts, multiplies and divides and finds square root will be sufficient. You may not use a cell phone to do calculations during the exams. You should also have a recent version of Microsoft Excel on your computer or you may use the computers in the Business School labs. This course will be taught utilizing Excel because it is what you will most likely have available to you in your future work environment. However, there are a number of statistical procedures that we will cover in this course that Excel does not readily perform. I will try to point out to you what Excel will and will not do and any errors in the Excel functions of which there are a few. For procedures that Excel does not perform, the publisher of your textbook has provided an additional software package (WHF Stat) that installs within Excel. We will be using this software to analyze categorical data later in the semester and you will receive detailed instructions on how to access it at that time.

Student Responsibility:

The dates on the course outline on this syllabus are approximate and therefore subject to change. Such announcements will be made in class and sent to you via e-mail (at your official address listed in Blackboard). You are responsible for checking this e-mail regularly. While class attendance will not be taken, students who come to class will receive valuable information during lecture that will assist in performing well on exams. Good class attendance along with regular practice is the best way to do well in the class. Make-up exams will not be given except for a University approved reason.

ADA Accommodations: Compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act is a policy of this course. Students with disabilities may request accommodations from the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, Services for Students with Disabilities, 471-6259, If you are entitled to accommodations please let me know well before the exam by providing your accommodation letter and discussing with me the particular accommodations you will need. This will allow me time to make sure that all of your needs can be met.

Academic Dishonesty: Dealing with academic dishonesty is a painful situation for all. Fortunately I have had to do so only rarely in my twenty-three years here. The College of Business has no tolerance for acts of scholastic dishonesty. The responsibilities of both students and faculty with regard to scholastic dishonesty are described in detail in the BBA Programís Statement on Scholastic Dishonesty at By teaching this course, I have agreed to observe all faculty responsibilities described in that document. By enrolling in this class, you have agreed to observe all student responsibilities described in that document. If the application of the Statement on Scholastic Dishonesty to this class or its assignments is unclear in any way, it is your responsibility to ask me for clarification. Students who violate University rules on scholastic dishonesty are subject to disciplinary penalties, including the possibility of failure in the course and/or dismissal from the University. Since dishonesty harms the individual, all students, the integrity of the University, and the value of our academic brand, policies on scholastic dishonesty will be strictly enforced. You should refer to the Student Judicial Services website at to access the official University policies and procedures on scholastic dishonesty as well as further elaboration on what constitutes scholastic dishonesty.

Course Outline:


Text Reference

Approximate Dates


Jan. 13

Descriptive Statistics--Describing Distributions

1.1, 1.2

Jan. 15, 17




NO CLASS on MLK Day, Jan. 20



Brief Probability Overview
Normal Distributions


Jan. 22, 24--Weather related cancellation

Jan. 27

Least Squares Regression/Correlation (Descriptive)

2.1, 2.2, 2.3

Jan. 29, 31

Experimental Design; Randomness; Sampling Distributions

Computer Simulation of Sampling Distributions

3.1, 3.2, 4.1, 4.4, 3.3

Feb. 3, 5, 7

Descriptive Statistics with Excel

Handout/Web Page

Feb. 10, 12

Review for Exam

Excel Homework 1 Due (in class)

Feb. 14

Test 1

Feb. 17

Estimation, Confidence Intervals, Sample Size, Tests of Significance (for one mean using z), Alpha, Beta, & Power

6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4

Feb. 19, 21, 24, 26, 28

Confidence Intervals and Hypothesis Tests for one mean using t


Mar. 3, 5, 17




NO CLASS on Mar. 7

Spring Break Mar. 10-14




Confidence Intervals and Hypothesis Tests for 2 means using t

7.2 (Omit pooled 2-sample procedure)

Mar. 19, 21

Inferential Statistics for Means with Excel

Handout/Web Page

Mar. 24, 26




Review for Exam

Excel Homework 2 Due (in class)


Mar. 28




Office Hours During Class Time


Mar. 31




Test 2


Apr. 2

Binomial Probability Distributions; Normal Approximation to the Binomial; Introduction to Inference for Categorical Variables

5.2 (As Background)

Apr. 4, 7

Estimation, Confidence Intervals, Sample Size and Hypothesis Testing (one proportion using z)


Apr. 9, 11

Confidence Intervals and Hypothesis Testing for 2 proportions using z


Apr. 14




Inference for Two-Way Tables (Chi Square)

9.1, 9.2

Apr. 16, 21




NO CLASS on Good Friday, Apr. 18






Inferential Statistics for Categorical Data using Excel and WHF Software

Handout/Web Page

Apr. 23, 25

Review for Exam

Excel Homework 3 Due (in class)

Apr. 28




Office Hours During Class Time


Apr. 30




Test 3 (Final Exam)

May 2