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Connecting Statistics to the Real World: GAC Partners with Turner Sports
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Connecting Statistics to the Real World: GAC Partners with Turner Sports

How are we preparing our students for life beyond the four walls of the classroom? That’s a question GAC educators ask themselves often. It’s also the reason why experiential learning is always the goal here. But some subjects lend themselves more easily to these opportunities than others. For example, how can our teachers connect an AP statistics class to the real world?

When you have Mr. Mallom Liggon as a parent at your school, the answer becomes easier. Mr. Liggon is Director of Strategy and Insights for Turner Sports and holds an M.B.A. from Georgia Institute of Technology’s Scheller College of Business. His three sons have all attended GAC. Most importantly, he was willing to lend his time and expertise to our AP Statistics students in order to introduce them to “real world” statistical analysis.

“Put on your NBA thinking caps,” Mr. Liggon told the students during one of his visits to the class. “It’s time to consider how to apply the knowledge you’ve acquired.” He and his team posed a big question for the class, one that Liggon himself and colleagues at Turner Sports were currently analyzing: NBA ratings are decreasing during regular season. Why is ESPN up but Turner down in the ratings? “Don’t forget to bring your common sense to the table. And your fan passion,” Liggon coached them.

By the end of the semester, much was accomplished. Data sets were de-constructed and analyzed. Students discussed bias. Statistical significance. Confidence intervals. “Cleaning” the data. Surveys and sampling. HUT (homes using television) percentages. Groups of students even formally presented their findings to Turner leadership for consideration.

Liggon was impressed with what our Spartans were able to produce. “The students came up with amazing data insights about our NBA on TNT property. We used some of their analysis to help augment our existing reports. One of the most insightful recommendations that we are considering is around our game start time discussions with the NBA,” he said. 

Senior Christopher Johnson said, “This project was awesome. We had the opportunity to make an impact on a problem that an actual company is dealing with. Getting to experience this with my class was really meaningful.”

Mr. Liggon said he learned a few things himself about the school where his three children have been educated. “I learned that GAC is willing to go the extra mile to give its students the much-needed ‘real world’ practical experience they need…I believe students must be given the chance to learn outside of the classroom in order to develop heart for a subject.”

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