SUSAN LLOYD

My name is Susan Lloyd and I am a third year secondary mathematics education major with concentrations in both statistics and actuarial science. Since I am a member of the University Honors College, I was looking for an area of interest where I could perform some research in order to write an undergraduate thesis. I am very passionate about statistics and its many applications to various disciplines, and thus, after taking two semesters of statistics at Millersville, I knew I wanted to perform research on a statistics topic. My thesis advisor introduced me to the topic of discriminant analysis, which is part of multivariate statistics. I immediately became interested in this topic and was very interested in determining how I could apply it to education, since this is also an area of interest of mine. I wanted to analyze a data set related to the field of education, with the hopes of drawing conclusions that would be of interest to teachers and professionals in the field. I decided to compare and analyze the school districts from ten local counties in Pennsylvania, using the statistical analysis techniques of cluster analysis and discriminant analysis. My goal was to determine which school districts were most similar to one another and also determine which variable(s) were the most influential in discriminating among these clusters of school districts. Hopefully these findings are able to shed some light on what causes the major differences among schools in this particular geographic region so that administrators can take action, if they so choose, to make improvements and regain a sense of equilibrium among schools. After performing this analysis, I would like to continue working on this research and try using different combinations of variables to see if I could improve my analysis to develop an even better understanding of the nature of group differences between school districts in these counties. As I hope to one day attend graduate school for statistics, this research has definitely given me invaluable experience for the future, for which I am very thankful.