Edinburgh RSS local group
Meetings 2009

Tuesday 24th February 2009
Professor J L Hutton, Department of Statistics, The University of Warwick
(immediately followed by Annual General Meeting)
Royal Pharmaceutical Society, Scottish Office, 36 York Place, Edinburgh EH1 3HU
Meeting starts 5.30pm, wine and nibbles available from 5pm.

This talk will consider how and why a statistician might be an expert witness. Practical aspects of being an expert witness will be discussed: fees, the form of reports, the meaning of 'expert' in a legal context and the difference between civil and criminal cases. My illustrations will mainly be from civil, medical cases. Such cases are generally low profile, and so provide a gentler introduction to being an expert witness than criminal cases. Some differences between English, Irish, South African and USA courts will be described. My intention is to encourage the audience to consider acting as experts, as there is a contribution statisticians can make to the judicial system.

Tuesday 31st March 2009
Domain sampling and G theory: the measurement model underpinning the Scottish Survey of Achievement (SSA) Sandra Johnson (Assessment Europe)
Room PL 1.26, Paterson's Land, Moray House Campus, Holyrood Road, Edinburgh EH8 8AQ
Meeting start 5.45pm

The Scottish Survey of Achievement is a sample-based survey programme with multiple aims. A primary aim is to provide periodic and quality estimates of the attainment of pupils in Scotland in key curriculum subjects at particular stages in schooling: currently P3, P5, P7 and S2. Among the technical challenges associated with programmes such as this one is choice of an appropriate measurement model. The SSA is unique in its model choice. Unlike the well-known international programmes (PISA, PIRLS, TIMSS), which have adopted item response theory (IRT), the SSA is based on domain sampling, with attainment estimation following conventional sampling theory methods. Generalizability theory is applied in secondary data analysis to evaluate the effectiveness of survey design, by exploring contributions to measurement error. The presentation will focus on this aspect.

Tuesday 21 April 2009
Applying survival models to life-office mortality
Stephen Richards (Richards Consulting)
The Melting Pot, 5 Rose Street, Edinburgh EH2 2PR
Meeting starts at 6pm, refreshments available from 5.30

The speaker will give an overview of survival models applied by actuaries to life-office mortality and other risks. It will be demonstrated how actuarial models for the mortality hazard fit better than many classical models. It will also be shown how actuaries use geodemographic profiling based on postcode to determine so-called "lifestyle" differentials in mortality.

Tuesday 19 May 2009
6pm, Refreshments from 5.30pm
The 2011 Census in Scotland
Sandy Taylor and Paul Fensom (General Register Office for Scotland)
The Melting Pot, 5 Rose Street, Edinburgh EH2 2PR

Poster to download in either MS Word or PDF format

The speakers will outline plans for the 2011 Census in Scotland. The talk will cover the questions that are likely to be included, and the innovations planned, notably data collection via the internet. Some initial reflections on the (very) recent census rehearsal will be offered.

Tuesday 13th October 2009 Neil Jackson, UK Statistics Authority
The work of the UK Statistics Authority in Scotland
The Melting Pot, 5 Rose Street, Edinburgh EH2 2PR
Meeting starts 6pm, tea and coffee from 5.40pm
Download poster (PDF file)

This presentation will briefly describe the background to the establishment of the UK Statistics Authority through the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007. It will provide an overview of the changes that have been made to the UK statistical system, covering the Authority Board, the Office for National Statistics and the role of the Head of Assessment. It will describe the Authority's assessment and monitoring functions; highlight the main developments during the Authority's first year; and discuss the Authority's planned activities in Scotland over the next year or two.

Tuesday 10th November 2009
Niamh Laffan and Matt Perkins, Scottish Government
How deprived is your neighbourhood? (or: is Glasgow worse than Edinburgh?)
The Melting Pot, 5 Rose Street, Edinburgh EH2 2PR
Meeting starts 6.30pm, tea and coffee from 6pm
Download poster (PDF file)

How deprived is your neighbourhood? Where is the most deprived place in Scotland? Is Glasgow worse than Edinburgh? These are just some of the questions that can be answered with the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation. The 2009 index will be published on 29th October and in this talk two of the statisticians working on the project will explain the results of the index and the methodology and data sources behind it including the statistical techniques used.

Wednesday 2nd December 2009
David Hand, President of the Royal Statistical Society
Assessing the performance of supervised classification methods
The Melting Pot, 5 Rose Street, Edinburgh EH2 2PR
Meeting starts 6.20pm, tea and coffee from 6pm
Download poster (PDF file)

Effective choice of classification method relies on matching the performance criterion to the objectives. And yet often inappropriate criteria are used, which poorly match the aims. Furthermore, problems are confounded by issues such as selection bias, which can render comparative assessments invalid. This talk discusses some of the properties of performance measures, and the difficulties of choosing the right one.

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