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# Everyday Mathematics Report, Essay Example

Pages: 6

Words: 1702

Essay

Victoria’s annual road toll on track for a historic low

Rationale for Article Selection

Category of Mathematics Used in the Article

For a reader to sufficiently understand the information presented in the article, it is necessary for them to have knowledge of percents, probability, and statistical trends. While some of this mathematics is presented in a manner that an individual with only a small amount of understanding can comprehend, to determine whether the rationale for the decreased incidence of accidents is correct, it is important to have a more thorough knowledge of this topic. The main purpose of this article is to present statistics explaining that, “Victoria’s annual road toll is on target for a historic low with 42 less fatalities compared to last year’s figures. As of October 21, the road toll stands at 240 deaths, the lowest 365-day count on record” (Allen, 2013). They continue to explain that approximately 80% of survey participants report that they stick to the designated speed limit and that “technology and medical technology” has improved the survival rate.

Improving the Use of Mathematics

Based on the information presented, it is challenging to determine whether the statistics provided are valid. First, without examining the survey first hand, it is difficult to ascertain whether 80% of local residents truly adhere to the speed limit requirements. The sampling of these survey participants is an important component of determining whether the survey result is truly reflective of the population being studied. For example, without being aware of selection methods, it is possible that some participants are visiting from outside of Victoria. Furthermore, there may be a small sample size, that would interfere with the probability that these individuals follow the speed limit at the same rate as individuals from a larger population. Last, this source is not reliable because based on the information in the article, the reliability of the individuals that conducted the survey cannot be identified. Therefore, the results of the survey may not be externally valid and thus not applicable to the study of driving habits of the overall population.

Next, it is important to consider that “technology and medical technology” are assumed to be the factors that contribute to a reduction of automotive fatalities. However, there has been no attempt within the context of this article to assess whether there is a correlation between automotive fatalities and technology. While it is likely that medical technology is better able to save the lives of individuals that have gotten into accidents, there may be other factors that cause this relationship. Thus, to make the statement that “technology and medical technology” explain the reduction of fatalities, it would be beneficial to conduct a correlation or regression model to determine the connection between these factors. Furthermore, once more factors are predicted, it would be beneficial to generate a multivariate regression model for this purpose.

Recommendations

It would be beneficial for this news story to have utilized a greater understanding of statistical methodology instead of making blanket assumptions about traffic trends. To help people reverse their traffic habits, such information is necessary. Next time, it would be beneficial to include a few sentences to help validate the survey used and to incorporate a greater understanding with regards to the factors that could have contributed to the decrease in automotive fatalities in the area.

Tremors and quakes

Rationale for Article Selection

This article was selected because it attempts to reveal tends with regards to divorce. While a majority of the news article was used to provide a discussion about divorce in society, a section of it briefly explains how the median age for divorce for men and women does not reflect what is typically observed in the population. Thus, this proposes the concept that mean, median, and mode could be used to contribute to a greater understanding of the phenomena occurring in populations. This concept is related to the NSW Syllabus for the Australian Curriculum 2012 because statistics is examined between kindergarten and 10th grade. Specifically, the foundation knowledge needed to understand statistics involves computations of mean, median, mode, and range, among basic representations of this data. Thus, even though the purpose of the article is not to discuss statistics, it is relevant that the author noticed that the trend she wishes to study cannot be properly examined using a single statistical test.

Category of Mathematics Used in the Article

For an individual to understand the mathematics discussed in this article, it would be necessary for them to have at least a 5th year understanding of mathematics. Furthermore, it is also beneficial for them to have the ability to think critically about descriptive statistics and how this information can be utilized to meaningfully describe populations. According to the author, “At last census, the median age at divorce continued to increase. For men, it’s 43.9 years and for women it’s 41.1. And, for any boffin who correctly detected that “median” does not mean “typical”, let me tell you: the highest divorce rates occur for both men and women in the early forties age range” (Razer, 2008). Therefore, it is necessary for someone to understand what a median is to understand this information, and it is valuable for them to also understand that the author is referring to the concept of “mode”, or frequency of values in a particular population.

Improving the Use of Mathematics

While the author accurately indicates that using the mode divorce data rather than the median would be more representative of the overall population in this example, she doesn’t continue this discussion. Instead, she returns back to her previous discussion of divorce in this population. However, the article would have been more effective if she had provided more discussion about the statistical aspect of divorce. For example, if people in their early 40s tend to get divorced the most frequently, it is beneficial to determine the factors that contribute to this. Individuals in their 40s likely experience many similar stresses with regards to aging, familial relationships, etc. By identifying what these factors are, the author will be more readily able to provide advice to her readers and help them gain an understanding of how they can avoid entering a situation in which a divorce is necessary. Furthermore, it may be valuable for this author to examine trends in divorce age over time. By doing so, she will be able to provide a better understanding of divorce to her readers, rather than simply warn them about it.

Recommendations

While it is valuable that the author provided the reader with a basic understanding of statistical information related to divorce, it would have been more valuable for her to have provided a comprehensive discussion of the factors related to divorce and how divorce has changed over time. Simply stating that the mode of divorce age rather than the median should be considered isn’t sufficient to gain more knowledge of the problem. Thus, even though this appears to be an advice column, including more information would make it more effective and it is likely that the author will become more reputable as a consequence. Overall, it is beneficial to back claims up with data, and this is true even for information being published in a local newspaper.

Conclusions

Both articles demonstrate that there is a need to use more mathematics in local news reporting in order to improve the efficacy of the information being reported. Doing so will allow the reader to gain a better understanding of the trends being presented and answer more questions that readers have with regards to the topic. Overall, it is necessary for more thought about mathematics to be included in articles to make them more meaningful to the reader.

References

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