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

September 1996


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* * * Congratulations! * * *

The balloting results are in and the following people were elected to the Board of Directors of the Washington Statistical Society (WSS):

Graham Kalton, Westat, Inc.

Methodology Program Chair
Karol Krotki, Education Statistics Services Institute

Cylde Tucker, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Al Tupek, National Science Foundation

Carol Shettle, National Science Foundation

A round of applause also goes out to ten WSS members who were recently elected Fellows of the American Statistical Society (ASA). This honor goes to:

1996 Julius Shiskin Award

The Washington Statistical Society and the National Association of Business Economists announced that the 1996 Julius Shiskin Award has been awarded to David F. Findley of the Bureau of the Census.

In granting the 1996 award, the committee cited David Findley's outstanding leadership in improving seasonal adjustment methodology for the economic times series at the Census Bureau, throughout the Federal Government, and throughout the world. The committee also noted his continuation of the work Julius Shiskin began with X-11 and his success in bringing out the X-12-ARIMA. This advanced system makes use of the most recent advances in statistical methodology and is already being used by many official statistical agencies and is likely to become the standard adopted internationally.

Dr. Findley has also written a number of papers on criteria for statistical model selection, and the properties of the information measures used to assess model fits. This work extends applications where models are not nested. He has introduced bootstrap procedures in a time series context, and looked at the implications of estimating for something other than one-step ahead forecasts.

The Julius Shiskin Award was established by the family of the late Julius Shiskin and is administered by the Washington Statistical Society and the National Association of Business Economists. The committee said that the award was intended to honor original and important contributions in the development of economic statistics and in their use in interpreting economic events. Mr. Shiskin's government career as an economic statistician spanned more than 30 years during which time he worked at the U.S. Bureau of the Census, the Office of Management and Budget, and culminated at the U.S. Department of Labor as the Commissioner of Labor Statistics.

In recent years the award has also been received by Fritz Scheuren formerly of the Internal Revenue Service; Richard D. Allen of the National Agricultural Statistics Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture; Joel Popkin of Joel Popkin and Company; and Barbara Bailar of the American Statistical Association and formerly the Associate Director of the U.S. Bureau of the Census.

Get Online with WSS!

The WSS now distributes the newsletter electronically to over 220 members. These members get the newsletter a week or more prior to folks who get the surface mail version, and can get updates on recent events and changes. Also, WSS saves printing and postage, since we don't need to send a paper copy to the electronic folks.

We will also begin distributing a formatted version of the newsletter via email attachment, plus FTP distribution for those who wish.

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. If you are an ASA member, it would help if you could include your ASA number and mailing address with Zip code, but this is not critical.

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 info as the surface or email edition, just a slightly different format.


It has the custom for the incoming WSS President to include a letter to the membership in the September newsletter. Let me begin by welcoming new members and thanking renewing members for their continuing support. As a chapter of the American Statistical Association with some 1,150 members, the WSS is by far the largest chapter of ASA and can be viewed as a vibrant professional society in its own right. Our size and the diversity of statistical experience and application of our members create the opportunity to provide many unique, free, or low-cost services. I'm pleased to work with the dedicated cadre of volunteers who help provide nearly 50 lunchtime seminars each year, special sessions like the Morris Hansen lecture, various short courses, social events, Quantitative Literacy assistance, and the Sishkin and Herriot awards. Thanks to the leadership of past President Ron Fecso, the Board members and Program Chairs, and with the support of the membership, we look forward to another productive (but, we hope, not as eventful) year.

To help in our efforts, please take a moment to review the list of administrative contacts found on the last page of this newsletter. In doing so, think about suggestions that you might make. Would a paper presented outside the Washington area or at your workplace be of interest to WSS members? Is someone coming into town that might appreciate the opportunity to present research or other information at a WSS seminar? Who should be considered for a WSS sponsored award? Is there a social event that you would like to propose or help organize? Our Society reaches out beyond its membership. In the seven years since we initiated the Quantitative Literacy Group, the range of activities has grown rapidly. Your assistance with QL's efforts, by speaking at a career day, judging science fair or statistical project competitions, or helping teachers learn statistical concepts, etc., would bea few hours a year that you would find enjoyable and appreciated. QL activities should help future adults understand more about statistics and the role of statisticians. I would be interested in your ideas on how WSS might enhance our profession's image by promoting an "adult" quantitative literacy activity.

This year the Board will further explore membership and service issues. Although the WSS is large, there are many individuals engaged in statistical activities in the Washington area who are either not aware of WSS or otherwise uninvolved. Pass your newsletter on to a colleague, client, or friend who is not a member. Tell them about out web page ( Encourage them to explore the opportunities available through membership.

Like everyone else in the metro area, the WSS Board is looking for ways to cut costs €€ postal costs to deliver the newsletter now exceed the membership fee. Accordingly, we are increasing our use of fax and e-mail. We encourage members to receive the newsletter exclusively by e-mail (check out the version on our web page!). Members on our e-mail list will get notices of statistical seminars and events not sponsored by WSS that come to our attention too late to be put in the printed newsletter.

If you have ideas or suggestions concerning the topics I've mentioned or new ways for WSS to serve its membership, please call me or a program area contact. You are welcome to meet with us personally at a WSS event. Our last-Tuesday-of-the-month Board meetings (12:30 at Room 2990 of the Postal Square Building) are open to all comers. For a personal but faceless contact, my e-mail address is

Phil Kott
President, WSS


Although government furloughs and heavy snowfall presented unusual challenges, the WSS program year was again very active. Highlights of the 1995-1996 WSS activities include:


VP and President elect -- Graham Kalton
Representative-at-large -- Clyde Tucker and Al Tupek
Methodology Program Chair -- Karol Krotki
Treasurer -- Carolyn Shettle


The Methodology Section presented a full program of seminars covering a variety of methodological areas.

A Statistics in Public Policy program area was developed this year.

Short Course activities were once again a success. We are sad to say that this was the last year of short course leadership by Glenn White, who has served admirably in this capacity for ten years. Short course instructors included Richard Davis, Graham Kalton, Nancy Kirkendall, Robert Wise, and David Morganstein.

WSS co-sponsored the Data Editing Workshop, one of the largest events in WSS history.

The Fifth Annual Morris Hansen Lecture was held at the Jefferson Auditorium, USDA, in October. Ivan Fellegi, Chief Statistician of Canada, presented "Criteria for Assessing Statistical Systems." Katherine Wallman, Janet Norwood and James Bonnen were discussants.

While the snow hampered the career day presentations at local schools this year, a request to provide workshops for the Girl Scouts throughout the Washington area excites WSS's Quantitative Literacy Group.

The first of two Presidential Invited Addresses titled "The Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology (FCSM): Responding to the Needs of the Federal Statistical Community, 1975 to the Future" featured a panel of speakers: Maria Gonzalez, Monroe Sirken, Stephen Fienberg, Robert Groves and Norman Bradburn. Katherine K. Wallman made the second address in June titled "Toward a Unified Federal Approach to Statistical Confidentiality." Discussants were Joe Cecil, Tom Jabine, and Ed Spar.


The furlough contributed to low attendance and a substantial loss from our first short course. Combined with delayed receipt of dues paid through ASA, some cashflow problems arose. The Board took steps to balance the financial books. The most influential changes are reduced mail costs (faxing the calendar to building reps, e-mail newsletters, decreased size of the newsletter) and requiring that social events be revenue neutral. As a result, the year ended with a positive financial outlook and a vote not to increase dues for next year.

WSS historian Rich Allen prepared the most comprehensive edition ever of "WSS Past and Present." We distributed it at the annual dinner and open board meeting.


This year's December Holiday Party was held at Bombay Palace. BLS won the "party hardiest" title for having the most attendees.

The annual dinner took place at Bish Thompson's in Bethesda, Maryland. This year's speaker was Larry Williams, Projects Editor for the Knight-Ridder Newspapers, Washington Bureau, who spoke on "Statistics and the Media: Getting Comfortable Together." Victor Cohn, Research Fellow, ASA and former science editor of the Washington Post provided comments.


The 1996 Shiskin Award winner is WSS member David Findley.

The 1996 ASA Chapter Service Award went to Fritz Scheuren.

The WSS Presidents' Service Award was presented at the annual dinner to Vince Massimini (for developing the process that now distributes the newsletter electronically to more than 210 members), Michael Greene (for converting the monthly notices from mail to a fax list notification), and Dan Rope (for developing WSS's World Wide Web page) for their initiative and development of electronic communications processes for WSS.

Thanks for other contributions to WSS's increased timeliness, lower cost and improved service related to electronic activities also go to Jim Gentle of GMU who is providing the WWW site, WSS NEWS Editor, Mike Feil, for providing an e-mail version of the newsletter, Michael Cohen for bulletin board activities, and Elizabeth Sweet for putting the Board of Directors on line.

This year's Curtis Jacobs Award went to Neil Crabtree, Steven Jakubiak, Doug Weber, and Jordan Valliere from Rocky Run Middle School in Virginia for their group project "Student Use of the Internet."

The WSS Outstanding Graduate Students Awardees are Stephanie Brown (JPSM), Kostas Fokianos (UM), HasanHamdan (AU), Yan Liu (GWU), and Yiheng Zhu (GMU).

WSS presented awards to 50 Washington area students at five regional science fairs this spring. This year, for the first time, the first place winner (or winners) at each of the five fairs received a cash award ($200) plus a T-shirt thanks to a contribution from The Gallup Organization. The volunteer judges also deserve a special thanks.

I would like to thank the 1995-1996 WSS Board, committee members, speakers and other volunteers for the many successes achieved in this unusual year. It has been my pleasure to serve the innovative and dedicated people who volunteer their time to make our Society effective. I'd like to thank past president Sue Amhed for always being available when advice was needed. I'm sure that I speak for incoming President Phil Kott as well in encouraging members of WSS to always feel free to share their ideas and concerns with board members. Such communication is essential to assure that our Society continues to evolve, improve service to our members, and maintain our important traditions.

Ron Fecso
Past President, WSS

Methodology Proposals Wanted

The WSS Methodology Program is currently inviting proposals for presentations for the 1996-1997 program. The new Methodology Program Chair, Karol Krotki, is putting together seminars on various statistical and survey methodology issues. Topics of special interest include nonsampling bias, total survey error, analysis of data from complex surveys, and hierarchical linear modeling. Suggestions for other general topics are also invited in addition to ideas of specific presentations. These presentations provide participants with a good opportunity to give their research greater exposure in the Washington area. The talks are typically 50 minutes long and are usually held around lunchtime downtown at the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Please submit proposals to Karol Krotki, Education Statistics Services Institute, 1000 Thomas Jefferson St., NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20007 (202-944-5243,

Statistics of Income Bulletin: Spring 1996

The Statistics of Income Division recently issued its latest income and tax statistics in the Spring 1996 Statistics of Income Bulletin. Highlights of this issue include the following reports:

Individual Income Tax Returns, Preliminary Data, 1994
S Corporation Returns, 1993
Exempt Organization Business Income Tax Returns, 1992
Taxes and Organizational Choice: An Analysis of Trends, 1985-1992
Selected Historical Data, 1944-1996

The Statistics of Income Bulletin is available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954. The annual subscription rate is $30 ($37.50 foreign) for four issues; single issues cost $15 ($18.75 foreign). For other statistical information, write to the Director, Statistics of Income Division CP:R:S:S:P, Internal Revenue Service, P. O. Box 2608, Washington, DC 20013-2608; dial its electronic bulletin board at (202) 874-9574; or telephone its statistical information services office at (202) 874-0410.

***** Note from the WSS NEWS Editors *****

Items for publication in the November 1996 WSS NEWS should be submitted no later than September 30, 1996. EMAIL items to [Mike Feil] or [Fran Chevarley]. FAX items to Mike Feil at (301) 443-4045.

Dates for WSS NEWS
Program year: 1996 - 1997

Item Due Date Issue
September 30, 1996 November 1996
October 29, 1996 December 1996
November 26, 1996 January 1997
December 31, 1996 February 1997
January 28, 1996 March 1997
February 25, 1997 April 1997
March 25, 1997 May 1997
April 29, 1997 June 1997

Seminar on Statistical Methodology in the Public Service: November 12 - 13, 1996

The Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics will host a seminar on "STATISTICAL METHODOLOGY IN THE PUBLIC SERVICE". The seminar will focus on a variety of topics that have been explored in the Statistical Policy Working Paper series developed under the auspices of the Federal Committee on Statistical Methodolgy. Subjects to be covered will include:

Seminar participants will include federal statisticians, economists, and managers, as well as others in the broader statistical community who share an interest in the quality of federal data. Users and producers of federal statistics who participate in the seminar will have the opportunity to share experiences and ideas, discuss technical issues, and consider future policy initiatives.

The cost for the two-day seminar, which will be held at the Holiday Inn, Bethesda, 8120 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland, will be $125.00 per person. Registration will be limited to 250 participants. For further information, contact Edward Spar or Susan Cohen in the COPAFS office (703-836-0404).


SIGSTAT, the Special Interest Group in Statistics for the Capitol PC User Group and the Washington Operations Research and Management Science Council (WORMSC) will have its September meeting on September 18 from 12:30 - 1:30 in Rm 1208, 1301 New York Ave, NW. The topic is Which & Why to be presented by John Bender.

Which & Why by Arlington Software is a complete, graphically-oriented decision support package that provides the means to clearly justify and document every significant decision. It is designed to organize the complex group decisions made by government agencies and other large organizations. Which & Why covers all aspects of the decision process -- from brainstorming the decision requirements, creating an ideal decision profile, and evaluating options against the profile to reporting the results -- all with graphic tools, displays and statistics. A key advantage of the software is a unique, pattern matching adjustment to weighted average scores that ensures results are consistent with objectives.

The software is available on GSA Schedule and through local resellers.

First time attendees should call Charlie Hallahan at 202-501-6928 and leave their name. Information on SIGSTAT can be obtained on the WWW at http://www.ers.usda.govsigstat and on the Members/Sigs page at

Quantitative Literacy Group Needs Volunteers To Help Girl Scouts

WSS has been approached by Washington Metropolitan Chapter of Girl Scouts to conduct workshops for them during the months of October and November. If you would like to help shape these young minds while having fun and you can spare about six to eight hours of time, then please contact Shail Butani at 606-6347 or Kirk Mueller at 606- 6352. Note: You only need to volunteer for one workshop.

You will be provided with materials that are to be taught in the workshop; we will also give training to those desiring it. We will be conducting three concurrent workshops in each County: one for brownies, one for juniors, and one for cadetts. All of the workshops will be conducted on Saturdays from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. The schedule of workshops is as follows: October 5-Alexandria and Charles County; October 26-Prince William and Washington, D.C.; November 2-Montgomery County and Fairfax County; November 16-Prince Georgeßs County and Loudoun County; and November 23-Arlington.

Your help will be greatly appreciated.

WSS People

President                         Past President                
Phillip Kott (703) 235-5211       Ron Fecso (703) 235-5211
                   ext. 102                       ext. 142

Graham Kalton (301) 251-8253

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                        Public Health and Biostatistics
Julia Bienias    (301) 457-2696    Vance Berger     (301) 594-5756
Karol Krotki     (202) 944-5243    Julie Legler     (301) 493-6832
Public Policy                      Quality Assurance                  
Carolee Bush     (202) 366-6946    Harold Johnson    (202) 606-7758
Phil Ross        (202) 260-5244    Amrut Champaneri  (202) 268-2299
                                   Paul L. Zador     (301) 294-2825 

Social & Demographic Statistics    Statistical Computing                                            
Michael Horrigan (202) 606-5905    Bob Jernigan      (202) 885-3170 
Myron Katzoff    (703) 670-8917    Mike Fleming      (703) 235-5213
                                                           ext. 170

Short Courses                      Data Collection Methods     
Fritz Scheuren   (703) 549-1120    Brad Edwards      (301) 294-2021
                                   Linda Stinson     (202) 606-7228


Bill Arends          (202) 720-6812                 

WSS NEWS Editors
Mike Feil            (301) 443-1330                 
Fran Chevarley       (301) 436-7093
                           ext. 153   
Antionette Martin    (202) 426-1110
Renee Miller         (202) 426-1117
Fritz Scheuren       (703) 549-1120

Mel Kollander        (202) 973-2820 

Quantitative Literacy
Shail Butani         (202) 606-6347

Local Arrangement
Robie Sangster       (202) 606-7517