IM3.7.8 Standard Normal Applications


1. ACT vs SAT: Support your argument with evidence

As a college admissions officer, you get to evaluate hundreds of applications from students that want to attend your school. Many of them have good grades, have participated in school activities, have done service within their communities, and all kinds of other attributes that would make them great candidates for attending the college you represent. One part of the application that is considered carefully is the applicant's score on the college entrance examination. At the college you work for, some students have taken the ACT and some students have taken the SAT. You have to make a final decision on two applicants. They are both wonderful students with the very same G.P.A. and class rankings. It all comes down to their test scores. Student A took the ACT and received a score of 29 in mathematics. Student B took the SAT and received a score of 680 in mathematics. Since you are an expert in college entrance exams, you know that both tests are designed to be normally distributed. A perfect ACT is 36. The ACT mathematics section has a mean of 21 and standard deviation of 5.3. (Source: National Center for Education Statistics 2010) A perfect score on the SAT math section is 800. The SAT mathematics section has a mean of 516 and a standard deviation of 116. (Source: 2010 Profile). How would you make the decision based on what you know about the normal distribution? Prepare a convincing argument using images, mathematics, and words (there's a blank GeoGebra window following this question).

Use the window below to support your argument above.

2. What's the weirdest?

Each of the stories below are based upon normal distributions. Rank order these stories from most unusual to most average. (1 is the most unusual, 6 is the most average.) In each case, explain your ranking. A. The number of red loops in a box of Tutti-Frutti-O’s is normally distributed with mean of 800 loops and standard deviation 120. Tony bought a new box, opened it, and counted 1243 red loops. B. The weight of house cats is normally distributed with a mean of 10 pounds and standard deviation 2.1 pounds. My cat, Big Boy, weighs 6 pounds. C. The lifetime of a battery is normally distributed with a mean life of 40 hours and a standard deviation of 1.2 hours. I just bought a battery and it died after just 20 hours D. The amount that a human fingernail grows in a year is normally distributed with a mean growth of 3.5 cm and a standard deviation of 0.63 cm. My neighbor’s thumbnail grew all year without breaking and it is 4.6 cm long with stars and stripes painted on it. E. My little brother was digging in the garden and found a giant earthworm that was 35 cm long. The length of earthworms is normally distributed with a mean length of 14 cm and a standard deviation of 5.3 cm. F. The mean length of a human pregnancy is 268 days with a standard deviation of 16 days. My aunt just had a premature baby delivered after only 245 days.