ACEJMC Assessment in a Smaller Program: Addressing Statistical Learning in a Mass Communication Research Course

Jeffrey B. Hedrick and J. Patrick McGrail

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Abstract: The current study investigates the curriculum strategy chosen by one smaller program to address statistical learning. Changes were implemented addressing basic numerical and basic statistical concepts within ACEJMC Standard Two. An exploratory math course that includes short instruction in statistics replaced intermediate algebra as the math requirement, stipulated as the pre- or co-requisite for the mass communication research course. An evaluation instrument was formulated to assess whether prior statistics instruction might be related to higher scores for a course embedded assessment within the research course. Prior math education, as indicated through students’ math grades and their ACT/SAT scores, served as a numerical predictor of successful student performance with coursework that requires statistical proficiency. The results support previous studies that found journalism majors tend to score highest, on average, that women tend to outperform men, and that previous math grades and ACT scores tend to be moderate predictors of success.

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