WSS NEWS--News about activities of the Washington Statistical Society - a Chapter of the American Statistical Association

January 1996


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Curtis Jacobs Memorial Award

The Curtis Jacobs Memorial Award was established in 1991 by the Washington Statistical Society and the American Statistical Association. Mr. Jacobs, a long-time member of ASA and the Institute for Mathematical Statistics, was the chief mathematical statistician on the Consumer Price Index, the Producer Price Index, and several major economic statistics programs conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The award is given annually to secondary school students in the Washington DC area to encourage them to become familiar with the conduct of sample surveys and the use of survey data. Entrants may be students or teams of students. The winner of the 1994-95 Award was Maria Scheers-Masters, an eighth grade student at Mark Twain Middle School in Alexandria, Virginia. Maria was awarded a $200 U.S. savings bond and certificate at the 1995 WSS annual dinner in June. Her mathematics teacher, Deborah Simmons, also attended the dinner and was awarded a wall plaque.

The deadline for entering this year's competition is April 17, 1996. Members of WSS are encouraged to provide copies of the brochure to their children's teachers. Brochures may be obtained by calling Mary Batcher at 202-874-0464.

The WSS and ASA also welcome additional contributions to the Jacobs Memorial fund. Your tax deductible contribution may be sent to Penny Young, American Statistical Association, 1429 Duke St., Alexandria VA 22314-3402.

Electronic Distribution of Newsletter

The WSS Electronic distribution is nearly 200 members who receive the newsletter via email a week or more prior to the surface mail newsletter. We hope that we will soon be getting electronic mailing data that will allow us to save a significant amount of postage and printing costs by only sending the newsletter electronically to those who request this option. If you would like to receive the newsletter by email, please send a note to Vince Massimini ( listing your name, organization, and internet email address. Also, if your email address has changed, please let Vince know. Your messages may be bouncing and he can't get them to you.

And don't forget that WSS is on the World Wide Web! If you haven't stopped by, please do so. You can check current lectures, read the newsletter, look for jobs, hook into other statistical organizations, etc. Many thanks to Dan Rope of BLS who put the page together and Jim Gentle of GMU who is providing the WWW site. The WSS WWW page is at URL if you would like to give it a try. Note that the newsletter is also published on the page--it's the same as the surface or email edition, just a slightly different format.


Volunteers are now being solicited to represent the Washington Statistical Society as judges in local area science fairs next spring. Since 1986, WSS has provided special awards at these fairs to students whose projects demonstrate excellence in statistical theory or application. Those who have participated in this activity have very much enjoyed the opportunity to interact with these students and to observe the widely diverse projects which are presented. The WSS sponsors awards at fairs in Northern Virginia, suburban Maryland and the District of Columbia. The fairs are held on a Saturday morning in mid-March to mid-April. The only time required is that one Saturday morning, plus one weekday lunchtime meeting to discuss judging strategy and to distribute the awards to be given out at each fair.

If you would like to be a WSS science fair judge, or if you would like additional information about this activity, please contact Lee Abramson at (301) 415-6180.

Openings on the WSS Short Courses Committee

Seminars and short courses are the backbone of the Washington Statistical Society. After many productive years as the WSS Short Courses Committee, Glenn White and Jeri Mulrow are stepping down. The Washington statistical community owes them both a huge debt of gratitude.

Although they will be difficult to replace, they must be. If you are interested in serving on this important and vital committee, please contact Phil Kott (703-235- 5211;

Note from the WSS NEWS Editors

Items for the February 1996 WSS NEWS should be submitted no later than December 26, 1995 and items for the March 1996 WSS NEWS are due no later than January 30, 1996.

Fax items to Mike Feil at (301) 443-4045 or e-mail items to

Please examine this issue carefully for missing items and notify the editor in such cases. The e-mail gateway used by the principal LAN through which the editor receives items was not working for the last part of November and the early part of December.

Data Editing Workshop and Exposition

Abstracts and proposals for presentation for the March 22, 1996 Data Editing Workshop and Exposition are due by February 1. The conference is sponsored by the Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Joint Program in Survey Methodology, the Washington Statistical Society, the National Center for Educational Statistics, and the National Agricultural Statistics Service. This event will provide an opportunity for those with an interest in the field to demonstrate software, present findings, learn from others, and discuss experiences in an informal setting. The location is the Bureau of Labor Statistics Conference and Training Center across from Union Station. The conference for presenters and attendees is free.

Data editing is a key (and often costly) activity that takes place for almost all surveys. Advances in methodology, practice, and systems are not always published or known outside the agencies in which they take place. Yet there are many common needs and situations where solutions and approaches would be applicable to others.

Both software exhibits and talks are planned.

Presentations concerning new or previously undocumented software or editing approaches and methodologies are especially encouraged. Systems personnel, managers, subject matter specialists, and others who normally do not present at conferences or symposia are encouraged to submit. Reports of efforts in progress are appropriate, this would be a good opportunity to get feedback from others. This is not a competitive submission. As long as there is space and the abstract is concerned with editing it will be accepted.

Submit short abstracts to:

             David Pierce
             Federal Reserve Board, Stop 401
             Washington, DC 20551

Use e-mail if you wish: M1DAP00@FRB.GOV (those are zeroes before @).

Questions may be directed to Mark Pierzchala at (703) 235-5218 ( or David Pierce at (202) 452-3895.

Statistics Section of APHA Requests Abstracts for 1996 Meetings

The 124th annual meeting and exhibition of the American Public Health Association will be held in New York City on November 17-21, 1996. The Statistics Section welcomes abstracts related to advances in statistical methodology, innovative applications of statistical methodology to public health problems, database development, federal and state health statistics, and statistical computing. Routine analyses of data should be submitted to the Section related to the subject matter of the analysis.

The Section requires the submission of 5 copies of abstracts and 2-page summaries of the paper. Three of the 5 copies should have no identifying information for blind review. The Section also welcomes persons, governmental agencies, or private organizations wishing to sponsor a complete session of 5 or 6 related papers. A session is generally 90 minutes long.

Students are especially encouraged to submit abstracts.

Submit abstracts by February 9 to:

     Daniel H. Freeman, Jr., Ph.D.
     Office of Biostatistics
     University of Texas Medical School
     University of Texas - Medical Branch
     Galveston, TX 77555-1148.

SIGSTAT Meetings

SIGSTAT, the Special Interest Group in Statistics for the Capitol PC User Group and the Washington Operations Research and Management Science Council (WORMSC), will be sponsoring the following meetings. On January 10, 1996, the topic will be StatXact 3 for Windows, a software package for exact nonparametric statistical inference on continuous and categorical data, just made available in a Windows version. On February 14, 1996, the topic will be Axum 4.0, the statistical graphics package, now available under Windows. On March 6, the topic will focus on the SAS/ETS 6.11 Forecasting Menu System.

All meetings are from 12:30 - 1:30 in Room B-14, 1301 New York Ave, NW. First time attendees should call Charlie Hallahan at 202-501-6928 and leave their name. Information on SIGSTAT can be obtained on the WWW using the following URL: http://www.ers.usda.govsigstat and on the Members/Sigs page at

Statistical Policy Working Papers NOW on the Internet

Below, is a listing of twenty-four Statistical Policy Working Papers (SPWP) that have been published by the Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology from 1978 to 1995. The first twenty-two reports can be accessed via the Internet at policy. SPWP numbers 23 "Seminar on New Directions in Statistical Methodology," (1995) and 24 "Electronic Dissemination of Statistical Data," (1995) will be added to this collection shortly.

At this time, most of the tabular and graphical information from the original works only appear in hardcopy form. However, the National Science Foundation is in the process of adding an Adobe "Acrobat" version of SPWP #24 that will contain the original graphics. By January 1, 1996 this report can be found at

Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology Statistical Policy Working Papers

NO.      TITLE

1        Report on Statistics for Allocation of Funds, 1978

2        Report on Statistical Disclosure and Disclosure-Avoidance
         Techniques, 1978

3        An Error Profile:  Employment as Measured by the Current
         Population Survey, 1978

4        Glossary of Nonsampling Error Terms:  An Illustration
         of a Semantic Problem in Statistics, 1978

5        Report on Exact and Statistical Matching Techniques, 1980

6        Report on Statistical Uses of Administrative Records, 1980

7        An Interagency Review of Time-Series Revision Policies, 1982

8        Statistical Interagency Agreements, 1982

9        Contracting for Surveys, 1983

10       Approaches to Developing Questionnaires, 1983

11       A Review of Industry Coding Systems, 1984

12       The Role of Telephone Data Collection in Federal Statistics, 1984

13       Federal Longitudinal Surveys, 1986

14       Workshop on Statistical Uses of Microcomputers in Federal
         Agencies, 1987

15       Quality in Establishment Surveys, 1988

16       A Comparative Study of Reporting Units in Selected Employer Data
         Systems, 1990

17       Survey Coverage, 1990

18       Data Editing in Federal Statistical Agencies, 1990

19       Computer Assisted Survey Information Collection, 1990

20       Seminar on Quality of Federal Data, 1991

21       Indirect Estimators in Federal Programs, 1993

22       Report on Statistical Disclosure Limitation Methodology, 1994

23       Seminar on New Directions in Statistical Methodology, 1995

24       Electronic Dissemination of Statistical Data, 1995

WSS People

President                         Past President
Ron Fecso   (703) 235-5211        Sue Ahmed  (202) 219-1781

Phillip Kott  (703) 235-5211

Secretary                          Treasurer
Elizabeth Sweet  (301) 457-4860    Carolyn Shettle  (703) 306-1780

WSS Program Chairs

Agriculture & Natural Resources    Economics
Mike Steiner  (202) 690-2486       Linda Atkinson   (202) 219-0934
Robert Latta  (202) 586-1385       Art Kennickell   (202) 452-2247

Methodology                        Physical Sciences & Engineering
Sandra West   (202) 606-7384       Paul L. Zador    (301) 294-2825
Julia Bienias (301) 457-4934

Public Health and Statistics       Quality Assurance
Sally Hunsberger (301) 435-0434    Harold Johnson    (202) 606-7758
Julie Legler     (301) 493-6832    Amrut Champaneri  (202) 268-2299

Social & Demographic Statistics    Statistical Computing
Mike Horrigan    (202) 606-5905    Jim Gentle       (703) 993-1994
Robert Kominski  (301) 457-2120    Mark Pierzchalia (703) 235-5218

Short Courses                      Data Collection Methods
Glenn White     (202) 327-6414     Theresa DeMaio   (301) 457-4894
Jeri Mulrow     (202) 327-6414     Mary Grace Kovar (201) 223-6040


Bill Arends          (202) 720-6812

WSS NEWS Editors
Mike Feil            (301) 443-1330
Alyson Muff          (703) 918-2217

Antionette Martin    (202) 254-5409
Renee Miller         (202) 254-5507
Fritz Scheuren       (202) 549-1120

Mel Kollander        (202) 973-2820

Quantitative Literacy
Shail Butani         (202) 606-6347

Local Arrangement
Robie Sangster       (202) 606-7517