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Faithful followers;Secondary;Reviews;General;Books

INTRODUCING STATISTICS. By Graham Upton and Ian Cook. Oxford University Press pound;12.

A-Level Statistics Study Guide By J Crawshaw and J Chambers Stanley Thornes pound;9.99.

Publishers are always keen to capitalise on successful texts. So these two new books for A-level statistics follow two already widely used texts.

Introducing Statistics is a shorter and cheaper version of Understanding Statistics (1997), by the same authors. The new book aims to cover the statistics needed for any single subject mathematics A-level. As in the original text, the style is lively, with clearly worked examples and plenty of exercises with answers. Interesting biographical notes on important contributors to the subject appear at appropriate places, and there are many useful suggestions for practical work.

Introducing Statistics is about two-thirds the length (and the price) of Understanding Statistics, having lost topics that do not appear in single subject A-level mathematics syllabuses.

In contrast, the A-Level Statistics Study Guide provides revision support for individual students, but is not a textbook in the usual sense. The 10 chapters match closely the structure of the same authors' popular text, A Concise Course in A-level Statistics. There are many worked examples, with margin notes, made to look like Post-it notes, which provide some amplification of the working.

The exercises contain past exam questions, with illuminating worked solutions. A few sections explain how to use a calculator for statistical calculations, but these exclusively use Casio calculators, and do little to expand the calculator's potential to develop understanding. Overall, I was not excited by this book, but some students will doubtless welcome its approach.

* Peter Johnston-Wilder is senior lecturer in mathematics education,De Montfort University, Bedford

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