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Michael A. Posner, PhD - Villanova University. Villanova, PA, US

Michael A. Posner, PhD

Professor of Statistics and Data Science, Department of Mathematics and Statistics | College of Liberal Arts & Sciences | Villanova University


Michael Posner, PhD, PStat®, is an expert on statistical analysis for medical and health care data, including Medicare overpayment.





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Areas of Expertise (5)

Data Science

Statistics Education Methods

Observational Studies




Dr. Posner is an Accredited Professional Statistician who can provide authoritative expertise on statistical analyses relating to medical and health care data, public health issues and Medicare. He is also nationally recognized for his pedagogy and research in statistics and data science education.

Education (3)

Boston University: PhD

Carnegie Mellon University: MS

University of Rochester: BA

Select Accomplishments (4)

Fellow, American Statistical Association (professional)

Elected 2017. The designation of ASA Fellow has been a significant honor for nearly 100 years presented to up to one-third of one percent of the total association membership each year. Awarded “For outstanding leadership and mentorship in statistics education, for contributions to the field of statistics education research, and for service to the profession."

Waller Education Award for Innovation and Excellence in Teaching Elementary Statistics (professional)

Awarded by the American Statistical Association for Innovation and Excellence in Teaching Elementary Statistics, 2012.

Mathematical Association of America's 2012 Henry L. Alder Award for Distinguished Teaching by a Beginning College or University Mathematics Faculty Member (professional)

National award given to a beginning (up to seven years) faculty whose teaching has been extraordinarily successful and whose effectiveness in teaching undergraduate mathematics is shown to have influence beyond their own classrooms.

Villanova University's Faculty Award for Innovative Teaching, 2010 (professional)

This award is given annually to a full-time professor whose courses employ creative techniques to enhance student learning and growth.

Select Media Appearances (1)

Invasive sedge protects dunes better than native grass, study finds

Science Daily  online


The invasive species Carex kobomugi, or Asiatic sand sedge, was first found along the East Coast of the United States at New Jersey's Island Beach State Park in 1929. The species is aggressive, outcompeting native vegetation and reducing local biodiversity. In many places, land managers have made great efforts to remove it. But a new study published in the Journal of Applied Ecology and led by University of Pennsylvania doctoral candidate Bianca Charbonneau finds that the invasive plant does have one advantage over its native counterpart, Ammophila breviligulata, or American beach grass: the invasive is better at preventing erosion of dunes during big storms. Charbonneau collaborated on the study with Louise S. Wootton of Georgian Court University, John P. Wnek of the Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science and J. Adam Langley and Michael A. Posner of Villanova University, where Charbonneau earned her master's degree, with this study at the heart of her thesis.

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Research Grants (3)

Data Computing for All: Developing an Introductory Data Science Course in Flipped Format

National Science Foundation Improving Undergraduate STEM Education Program 

Co-Principal Investigator, 2014-17.

Training A New Generation Of Statistics Educators

National Science Foundation 


This project is reaching out to under-prepared statistics instructors in the nation's community college system to provide them with modern content and the ability to teach it using evidence-based teaching methods. The statistics instructors in community colleges often lack sufficient resources or connections to take advantage of all that is offered by the growing statistics education community. At the same time, the explosive growth in everyday use of statistics places a great burden of responsibility on statistics educators. Statistical literacy is vital for engaged and active citizenship. Leaders in the statistical community have identified educating educators as a critical need for the near future. Statistics education researchers have developed theoretically grounded and evidence-based pedagogical practices that can strengthen present and future teachers.

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Engaging Secondary Students and Teachers Through a Proficiency-based Assessment and Reassessment of Learning Outcomes (PARLO) System in Mathematics

National Science Foundation 

Four- year randomized controlled trial of 44 high schools in the Greater Philadelphia Area to evaluate an innovative assessment paradigm. http://21pstem.org/projects/parloproficiency-based-assessment/ https://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=0918474&HistoricalAwards=false

Select Academic Articles (6)

Advancing Data Science for Students of All Majors

SIGCSE ‘17: Proceedings of the 48th ACM Technical Symposium on Computing Science Education

Cassel, L., Posner, M. A., Dicheva, D., Goelman, D., Topi, H., Dichev, C.


A species effect on storm erosion: Invasive sedge stabilized dunes more than native grass during Hurricane Sandy

Journal of Applied Ecology

Charbonneau, Bianca R., Louise S. Wootton, John P. Wnek, J. Adam Langley, and Michael A. Posner

2017 DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.12846

Smoking, Alcohol Consumption and Binge Drinking Among Young Adult Childhood Cancer Survivors Surveyed in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health

Journal of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology, 2016

Mary Ann Cantrell, Michael A. Posner

2016 20165(2): 146-151. doi: 10.1089/jayao.2015.0053

Using Fun in the Statistics Classroom: An Exploratory Study of College Instructors’ Hesitations and Motivations

Journal of Statistics Education

Lawrence M. Lesser, Amitra A. Wall, Robert H. Carver, Dennis K. Pearl, Nadia Martin, Shonda Kuiper, Michael A. Posner, Patricia Erickson, Shu-Min Liao, Jim Albert, John J. Weber

2013 This study examines statistics instructors' use of fun as well as their motivations, hesitations, and awareness of resources. In 2011, a survey was administered to attendees at a national statistics education conference, and follow-up qualitative interviews were conducted with 16 of those ("N" = 249) surveyed to provide further context for interpreting the quantitative results. Motivations were similar for men and women, but female instructors admitted more hesitations in many areas. While many instructors are using or are open to using fun in the statistics classroom, the findings suggest that not having available resources at hand and not being aware of resources such as the CAUSEweb collection are major hesitations. Methods of alleviating hesitations are discussed.

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The Impact of a Proficiency-based Assessment and Reassessment of Learning Objectives System on Student Achievement and Attitudes

Statistics Education Research Journal

Michael A. Posner

2011 This research compares a student-centered, proficiency-based assessment and reassessment of learning outcomes (PARLO) system to traditional assessment in a college-level introductory statistics class. The PARLO class was assessed on learning outcomes using a three-tiered proficiency scale and given the opportunity to resubmit assignments to increase their rating. Students' attitudes towards statistics improved more in the PARLO group, but no differences between groups were found on the CAOS test or on a common final exam. Within the PARLO group, students with a higher resubmission rate scored better on the final exam and those who resubmitted and achieved proficiency performed similarly to those achieving proficiency with the first submission. Assessing proficiency on specific learning outcomes allowed both students and the instructor to better evaluate learning.

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Cigarette Smoking and Alcohol Use among Adolescents and Young Adults with Asthma

Nursing Research and Practice

Elizabeth Burgess Dowdell, Michael A. Posner, and M. Katherine Hutchinson

2011 Asthma is one of the most common, serious chronic diseases in pediatric and young adult populations. Health-risk behaviors, including cigarette smoking and alcohol use, may exacerbate chronic diseases and complicate their management. The aim of this study was to longitudinally analyze rates of cigarette smoking and alcohol use in adolescents and young adults who have asthma and those who do not have asthma. A secondary analysis of data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health was undertaken. Individuals with asthma were found to exhibit increasing rates of cigarette smoking and alcohol use as they aged. When an adolescent with a chronic health issue begins health-risk-taking behaviors, behavior change interventions must be planned. Pediatric nurses, practitioners, and clinicians are uniquely positioned to assess for health-risk behaviors in youth with asthma and to intervene with plans of care that are tailored for the needs of this vulnerable population.

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