Thursday, May 19, 2022

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Descriptive Statistics include the mean, median, minimum, maximum. The purpose of these statistics is to give the reader a picture of the data collected and used. The mean is the average, around which the data clusters. All data in a sample is used. It is appropriate for data measured at least at the interval level. Median is the middle value when data in a sample is arranged in order. It is suitable for data measured at least at the ordinal level.  Unlike, the 2004 Whitest Law School Report, These statistics are drawn only from all schools and not just the historically White law schools.

One-Way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). ANOVA is used to identify differences between the means of independent (unrelated) groups. One-way ANOVA compares the means between the historically and non-historically White law schools, public versus private schools, tiers, states, and regions. ANOVA determines whether any of those means are statistically significantly different from each other.

Statistical significance occurs when there is a 5% or less probability that an observed difference occurred by random chance. (p<=.05)  However, just because a difference is not statistically significant does not mean the difference is not important, particularly programmatically. For instance,  a law school may still want to address a racial difference that is only 30% likely to have occurred by random chance (p=.30).

It is also important to remember that correlation does not necessarily mean causation.  ANOVA cannot tell why specific groups were statistically significantly different from each other.

 

Vernellia R. Randall
Founder and Editor
Professor Emerita of Law
The University of Dayton School of Law

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