The following information about the free-response section was provided by Roxy Peck, the Chief Reader for AP Statistics, after the 2001 AP Reading.
Exam performance this year (and in past years) was strongest in the area of describing data and weakest in the area of statistical inference. This was apparent in both the free-response inference questions as well as in the multiple-choice questions dealing with inference. In general, students were much stronger on the mechanical and computational aspects of problems than on parts that required interpretation or conceptual understanding. Communication of results continues to be a weakness.
Areas that continue to be problematic are listed below.
- Many students failed to read questions carefully and, as a result answered a question different from the one that was asked.
- Many students did not answer questions in context. Explanations and conclusions in context are always required for a complete answer.
- More students than in past years stated assumptions when carrying out a hypothesis test, but few understood that assumptions must also be checked.
- A large number of students seem to believe that it is okay to draw conclusions by “just looking at the data,” and did not seem to understand the need to employ inferential procedures even when asked to provide statistical evidence to support their conclusions.