Professional, Originally Released On Cassette Only
Game Type : Utility; Statistics Package
Standalone Release(s) : 1985: ELEMENTARY STATISTICS, <Unknown>, £9.95
Compilation Release(s) : None
Stated compatibility : Electron
Actual compatibility : Electron
Supplier : Unknown
Disc compatibility : Unknown
Instructions currently unavailable.
Review (Electron User)
This cassette of four programs and a single page of documentation comes from Garland's educational series, Learning Maths. The package is aimed at children aged about 9-12 years and is for school or home use on either an Electron or BBC Micro.
Garland has a good reputation for educational software for the BBC Micro but this package doesn't really live up to expectations, failing to make full use of the computer's facilities. Furthermore its title is slightly misleading in that the programs are mainly concerned with data collection and display rather than the computation of statistical parameters.
After chaining the Index program, which displays Garland's logo, the user is asked to pick one of three programs, Barchart, Piechart or Scatter by typing CHAIN "Program name". Unfortunately there is much room for operator error here and the loading sequence could be improved.
Barchart allows the user to label, input, add to and compare up to 10 groups of data in the form of a frequency table or a barchart (not a histogram, as the documentation reminds us). The data entry sequence may be upset by entry of large values, and is also drab as it doesn't utilise colour and sound. The barchart itself is in colour. Negative numbers are also allowed on data entry, but are not properly displayed on the barchart.
Piechart is similar to the previous program and allows the user to enter and compare values for up to six groups of data. The frequency table here also shows the angles (in degrees) used in the piechart. Again, the actual displayed chart is in colour. In this program however, data cannot be altered or added.
Scatter plots the values of two groups of related data on a scattergram. First the axes are labelled and the maximum limits set, then each data item is plotted on the graph as the values are entered. When all data has been entered - up to 100 values - the mean is automatically marked on the display. I like this one with its instant plotting. It would be very easy to fiddle results and enter values which sat along a nice straight line. Unfortunately this program does not allow for the correction or addition of data.
Overall the programs provide good value for money as a simple teaching aid but would be much more valuable for long term use in data collection and display if there were more facilities for error correction, saving of data and printout routines.
All the programs, however, are written entirely in Basic and can be used on either cassette or disc based systems and could therefore be readily amended to suit individual users.
Mike Mahon, ELECTRON USER 1.11