Assignment 1 Using common graphics and tools Due April 23, 2009 in class (in lieu of weekly example)


Below is a partial table of data (also available at in .xls format and tab separated text). It contains fictitious data for students in a class: student id, major, class standing, completion of prerequisites, numeric grade, and letter grade. For part of the assignment, you should double the size of the table adding in your own data. The remainder of the assignment is as follows. Using your favorite spreadsheet or data plotting software, create a graphic answering each of the following questions. Also, in each case, explain in 1-3 sentences why the graphic is appropriate / good for answering the corresponding question.


A) Frequency / counting: How many students are in each major (in the class)?

B) Percentage: What percent of each major makes up the class?

C) Distribution: What is the distribution of the letter grades (A-F)?

D) Comparison: How did the performance of students with prerequisites compare to students without them?


Remember to double the size of the table with your own imaginary data before doing the graphs. Have fun with the data.


The point of the exercise is two-fold. First, you should learn how to use the graphing features of a common tool (such as Excel) to do simple graphs. If you already know one tool, challenge yourself by trying out a new tool (e.g. OpenOffice). Second, you should learn to choose the best graphic for answering common questions.


Starting Data


Student ID Major Standing Grade Prerequisites? Letters

00101 Computer Science Junior 82 Y B

00105 Economics Sophomore 95 Y A

00107 Computer Science Junior 84 N B

00217 Social Science Freshman 83 N B

00218 Computer Science Senior 76 N C

01005 Biology Freshman 92 Y A

01702 Chemistry Junior 93 Y A

01802 Physics Senior 86 Y B

02001 Medieval History Freshman 68 N D

04001 Art Senior 74 N C

00501 Social Science Senior 89 N B