Using EXCEL for teaching elementary statistics

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Faculty of Computing, Health and Science


School of Computing, Health and Science




Bloom, L., Mueller, U., & Pereira, S. (2006). Using EXCEL for teaching elementary statistics. Proceedings of the 11th Asian Technology Conference in Mathematics (ATCM) 2006.


At our University we teach a number of units where it is necessary to introduce students to aspects of elementary statistics. Topics taught include summary statistics, probability distributions, confidence intervals, hypothesis testing and linear regression. Many of these students take only one or two statistics units in their course and a choice needs to be made as to which statistics package to use in these units. Factors such as cost, availability to both on-campus and on-line students, scope of the package and ease of use all need to be considered. Some students are from the social sciences areas and for these students we use the SPSS software package, for which the university has a comprehensive site licence. However, for other students, such as those in engineering and geostatistics, we have opted for the less comprehensive but more widely available EXCEL. In this paper we detail with relevant content illustrations, some of the advantages and disadvantages of our choice of EXCEL and discuss the subsequent curriculum changes that ensue.

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