Document Type



Doctor of Education


Educational Practice

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Keith W. Miller, Ph.D.


Charles R. Granger, Ph.D.

Helene J. Sherman, Ed.D.


The typical collegiate introductory statistics course poses significant challenges for students. Many do not fully comprehend key course skills, and it is common for students to exit the class with a neutral or negative attitude toward statistics. To measure the impact of using relevant contextual examples as an instructional strategy during a probability unit, in-class activities were designed to align with areas of interest for participants as identified by a student interest inventory. It was hypothesized that the use of relevant context would create a significant difference in the comprehension or attitude of students enrolled in an introductory statistics course at an urban midwestern university. Following a quantitative analysis of comprehension and attitude, interviews and focus groups were conducted with students from both the treatment and control groups to better understand the factors that influence student comprehension and attitude. Quantitative results reveal no significant differences in either comprehension or attitude as a result of the relevant context. Qualitative findings suggest other factors such as the instructor, class structure, and previous experiences play a larger role in shaping student comprehension and attitude.