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July/August 2007


WSS Audit Report

The audit of the WSS financial and income tax statements for tax year 2005 (from July 1, 2005 to June 30, 2006) has been completed. The statements were found to be in order. The auditor thanks Treasurers John M. Finamore and Daniell Toth for their service and cooperation.

As of June 30, 2006, WSS had an account balance of $36,653.50. Of this, $26,536.19 was in a checking account and $10,117.31 in a fixed term CD. Total tax year 2005 WSS revenues were $13,473.

Stuart Scott, WSS Auditor

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Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology
2007 Research Conference
November 5-7, 2007

The 2007 Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology (FCSM) Research Conference will be held November 5-7, 2007 at the Sheraton Crystal City Hotel, Arlington, Virginia. The Conference provides a forum for experts from around the world to discuss and exchange current research and methodological topics relevant to Federal government statistical programs. Each day of the conference will offer papers on a wide range of topics including the use of advanced technologies for survey design and data collection, processing and dissemination, variance estimation, treatment of missing data, improving coverage and response rates, confidentiality and disclosure issues, record linkage, sample design and estimation, cognitive research, and data quality.

Technical demonstrations on a variety of applications will run concurrently on the second day of the conference. Applications include demonstrations of audio computer-assisted self-interviewing (ACASI), a pen-based data collection system, computer-assisted recording interviewing (CARI), the use of hand-held computers for data collection, the use of GPS hand-held receivers in agricultural surveys, and data dissemination using the web. Sessions feature papers and demonstrations by government, private sector, and academic researchers from nine countries. In the opening plenary session Jon Krosnick from Stanford University will be our guest speaker. All paper sessions will include an open discussion and some sessions will include a formal discussion.

Conference Fee: Registration is $195. For a copy of the advance program and registration information please refer to http://www.fcsm.gov/events/.

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SRMS Continuing Education Courses
JSM 2007, Salt Lake City

The SRMS is pleased to co-sponsor the following two short courses during the Joint Statistical Meetings in Salt Lake City.

Latent Class Analysis of Survey Error, Saturday July 28 - Paul Biemer will present a statistical framework for modeling and estimating classification error in surveys. The course begins by examining some of the early models for survey measurement error. Then these models are cast in a general latent class modeling (LCM) framework where the true values of a variable are assumed to be unobserved (latent) and a survey response constitutes a single indicator of the latent variable. The course covers the basic concepts of the classical measurement error model, particularly as it applies to categorical data, and how to construct the likelihood functions for a range of latent class models and determine their identifiability. The course will introduce the students to the EM software for fitting a wide-range of LCMs which can be downloaded from the Web at no charge.

Individuals in government, universities, business and nonprofit organizations who are involved in the development, implementation or evaluation of surveys will find this course useful. The course content is accessible to anyone having an intermediate background in statistics and sampling methods.

Modeling and Data Analysis for Complex Surveys, Sunday July 29 - Jay Breidt and Jean Opsomer will present this one day short course. The course will review the main aspects of surveys that affect data analysis and model fitting, including stratification, clustering, calibration, survey weights, nonresponse and imputation. The students will acquire a thorough understanding of the issues involved in model fitting and analysis for survey data and will become aware of the statistical issues related to informative designs and their effect on estimates. The course will describe and compare model-based and design-based approaches to estimation and inference with complex survey data, review available software, and illustrate with example data sets.

This course is aimed at researchers with a basic background in statistical theory and methods who need to analyze complex survey data. No previous background in survey sampling is assumed.

For more information about the content to be covered in each of these courses refer to http://wwww.amstat.org/meetins/jsm/2007/onlineprogram, or contact Leyla Mohadjer at leylamohadjer@westat.com.

Anyone who has suggestions for short course topics or is interested in finding out more about how to submit a proposal to teach a short course at a future JSM conference should contact Leyla Mohadjer at leylamohadjer@westat.com.

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Students' Corner

Have you ever wondered how you could contribute to the community using your expertise in statistics? Are you interested in volunteering opportunities that allow you to use your statistical knowledge you gained through your course work? If so, STATCOM could be the answer for you.

Statistics in the Community (STATCOM) Network is a volunteer organization started at Purdue University's Department of Statistics. It is a graduate student-run consulting service that provides free statistical consulting to local governmental and nonprofit community groups. A need for statistical expertise in the local community was identified by a graduate student at Purdue University who founded STATCOM in 2001. Since then, the network has expanded to five universities (Purdue University, University of Washington, Cornell University, University of Michigan, and Ohio State University). Students who participate in STATCOM work in teams on community projects, while applying classroom knowledge and gaining marketable skills at the same time. STATCOM also has a P-12 Outreach component, which serves as an effort to increase interest and achievement in statistics among pre-college students by involvement in community events and classrooms. For more details about STATCOM and their current activities, please check their website at: www.stat.purdue.edu/statcom. If you have questions about STATCOM, you can also send an email to: statcom@stat.purdue.edu.

STATCOM, through a Strategic Initiatives Grant from the American Statistical Association, is currently developing a network across universities of students devoting time to pro bono statistical consulting. To introduce their activities and initiate similar activities in the Washington D.C. area, Cherie Ochsenfeld, Director of STATCOM, Gayla Olbricht, and Nilupa Gunaratna visited D.C. to make a presentation about STATCOM Network at the WSS seminar in May. They discussed the overall structure of the organization, how it is run, and types of services it provides, and addressed many of the challenges they had faced while answering the questions from the discussant of the seminar, Shail Butani from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the audience.

As the chair of this seminar, I had an opportunity to meet them in person and discuss the possibility of starting a similar organization in this area. Since most of the statistics programs in the area are in a small to moderate size, we agreed that it has to be multi-school efforts and we need many volunteers across universities in this area. As of this writing, we are trying to recruit students who are interested in helping us start a similar organization in the D.C. area. If you are interested in this type of volunteer opportunities, please email me at: hikawa@gwu.edu, or Joe Maisog, the new student representative, at jmm97@georgetown.edu. Please also look out for information about further development in the future issues of WSS newsletter.

That's all I have for this month. If you have any feedback on this column or ideas of topics for future issues, please send an email to me at hikawa@gwu.edu.

Hiro Hikawa
The George Washington University

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Note From The WSS NEWS Editor

Items for publication in the September issue of the WSS NEWS should be submitted no later than August 25, 2007. E-mail items to Michael Feil at michael.feil@usda.gov.

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Click here to see the WSS Board Listing (pdf)
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