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Applying Correlation Coefficients - Educational Attainment and Unemployment

Applying Correlation Coefficients - Educational Attainment and Unemployment

Activity Description


Students will use state and regional unemployment data for various education levels to create scatter plots and calculate correlation coefficients. Students will then compare scatter plots with different strengths of linear relationships and will determine the impact of any influential points on the correlation coefficient.

Suggested Grade Level


Approximate Time Required

120 minutes

Learning Objectives

  • Students will be able to make scatter plots of data.
  • Students will be able to calculate correlation coefficients using technology and by hand.
  • Students will be able to assess the strength of a linear relationship using correlation coefficients.
  • Students will be able to determine the impact of an influential point on the correlation coefficient.

Materials Required

  • The student version of this activity, 18 pages
  • A graphing calculator, graphing software (e.g., Microsoft Excel), or other graphing technology

Activity Items

The following item is part of this activity. The item, its data source, and instructions for viewing the source data online appear at the end of this teacher version.

  • Unemployment Rates by Educational Attainment, 2014

Teacher Notes

Blooms Taxonomy

Blooms Taxonomy

Students will analyze data by creating scatter plots and calculating correlation coefficients. Then they will apply their knowledge of linear regression models to evaluate any influential points in the data distribution.


High School Math


  • Educational attainment
  • Correlation coefficients
  • Influential points
  • Scatter plots

Skills Taught

  • Analyzing visual data
  • Calculating and interpreting correlation coefficients
  • Identifying and evaluating influential points


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