Minot State statistics students recognized at national competition | News, Sports, Jobs

A team from Minot State University won an honorable mention in the American Statistical Association Fall Data Challenge competition. Duong Pham, Liela Koguchi, Sam Aannerud and Alex Sandoval from Minot State received the recognition for best use of external data.

“It’s so rewarding to see them take what I’m teaching them and build on it to such a high level,” said Serena Pontenila , assistant professor of business information technology at Minot State. “I am very proud of this team and all the teams that competed. They all presented really impressive results of analysis.”

Pontenila said four teams of students in her Data Analysis for Business class were assigned to analyze the data for the competition as part of a class project.

“They had a month to complete it,” said Pontenila. She added the amount of data they were asked to analyze was huge.

According to the American Statistical Association, 72 teams and 262 students nationwide analyzed the real-world dataset from the 2019 Parents and Family Involvement Survey, conducted by the National Household Education Surveys Program (NHES) in the U.S. Department of Education, which contains information about students enrolled in kindergarten through high school.

Using this national dataset from across the United States, participants were challenged to provide insights on how to enhance and support family involvement in K-12 education. Students evaluated variables such as homework assistance, family activities and level of parent engagement in schools. Teams recommended that schools provide parents and guardians more frequent opportunities to participate in after-school activities, host multiple parent-teacher meetings and open houses throughout the school year, and increase the frequency of communication between schools and parents and guardians.

For this year’s contest, teams of two to five students submitted either a video presentation or a slide presentation of their data considerations, analysis, interpretations and recommendations. A panel of judges –American Statistical Association members with expertise in Census data, family involvement, and education, as well as NHES statisticians who helped curate this year’s dataset — assessed the submissions to determine the top high school and undergraduate teams for overall analysis, and honorable mentions for best data visualization and use of external data.

Pontenila said her class is required for business management information systems majors and recommended for other MSU students. Her students have learned a lot from the experience, she said.

“It was a great opportunity to get them exposure to a large data set and just sort through a real world experience,” said Pontenila.

Winning national recognition will also be valuable for their future career success.

“The students were super excited,” said Pontenila, who said she was “super excited” too and will continue having her students enter the competition as long as it is available.

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