# Statistics. Measurement. Scales of Measurement 7/18/2012

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1 Statistics Measurement Measurement is defined as a set of rules for assigning numbers to represent objects, traits, attributes, or behaviors A variableis something that varies (eye color), a constant does not (pi) Variables can be discrete (finite range sex, race) or continuous (infinite range time, distance) Scales of Measurement Nominal Scalesarequalitative system for categorizing objects or people Gender: Female =1, Male = 2; Eye Color: Brown =1, Blue =2, Green = 3. Ordinal Scalesallow you to rank people or objects according to the quantity of a characteristic Class Rank: 1 = Valedictorian, 2 = Salutatorian, 3 = 3rd Rank, etc. 1

2 Scales of Measurement Interval Scalesallow ranking on a scale with equal units IQs, GRE scores Ratio Scaleshave the properties of interval scales with a true zero point Height in inches, weight in pounds Why Scale matters There is a hierarchy among the scales Nominal scales are the least sophisticated (provide the least information) and ratio scales are the most sophisticated (provide the most information) Interval and ratio level data allow the use of the more powerful parametric statistical procedures Types of Statistics Statistics is the branch of mathematics dedicated to organizing, depicting, summarizing, analyzing, and dealing with numerical data Can be descriptive or inferential 2

3 Frequency distributions offer a great way to visually inspect data before running inferential statistics Distributions For example: Ungrouped FDs give information on all scores in a set of data Grouped FDs give information on all score ranges in a set of data 3

4 Graphs can be a visually interesting and meaningful way to convey information about a set of scores Let s see it in action! Measures of Central Tendency Mean The arithmetic average Median Divides a distribution arranged in an order of magnitude in half Mode Most frequently occurring value in a distribution 4

5 Measures of Variability Range Distance between extreme points in a distribution Variance Sum of the deviations between each value in a distribution and the mean of the distribution, or Σ(X M) 2, divided by N Standard Deviation Square root of the variance, a gauge of variability in a set of scores Shapes of Distributions Normal Distribution (bell curve) Special symmetric distribution that is unimodal with mode = median = mean Skewed Distributions Kurtosis Leptokurtic (less dispersion) Platykurtic (greater dispersion) 5

6 Negatively skewed distribution Positively skewed distribution Kurtosis Correlation Coefficients A correlation coefficient is a mathematical measure of the relationship between two variables The correlation coefficient was developed by Karl Pearson and is designated by the letter r Remember that variables tend to regress to the mean 6

7 Correlation (r) Correlations range from -1.0 to +1.0 Correlations differ on two parameters: Sign-can be positive or negative. Indicates the pattern of the relationship Size-a correlation of 0.0 indicates the absence of a relationship; the closer the correlation gets to 1.0, the stronger the relationship; a 1.0 indicates a perfect relationship Scatterplots Graph depicting the relationship between two variables (X & Y) Each mark in the scatterplot actually represents two scores, an individual s scores on the X and the Y variable 7

8 Types of Correlations Pearson Product-Moment Correlation Both variables continuous and on an Interval or Ratio scale Spearman Rank-Difference Correlation Both variables on an Ordinal scale Point-Biserial Correlation One variable continuous and on Interval/Ratio scale, the other a genuine dichotomy (e.g., true/false) Biserial Correlation Both variables continuous and on Interval/Ratio scale, but one is reduced to two categories (i.e., dichotomized) Effecting Factors Most correlations assume a linear relationship; if another type of relationship exists, traditional correlations may underestimate the correlation If there is a restriction of range in either variable, the magnitude of the correlation will be reduced Deviations from Linearity Homoscedasticity indicates normally distributed variables, heteroscedasticity indicates skewness on one or both 8

9 Deviations from Linearity The relationship between variables can also not be the same throughout their distribution Interpretation of Correlations General Guidelines: < 0.30 Weak Moderate > 0.70 Strong These, however, are not universally accepted and you might see other guidelines Statistical Significance Statistical significance is determined both by the size of the correlation coefficient and the size of the sample Usually expressed as a pvalue, which tells the probability that the found results are due to chance 9

10 Quantitative Interpretation Coefficient of Determination (r 2 ) The proportion of variance on one variable that is determined or predictable from the other variable Coefficient of Nondetermination (1-r 2 ) The proportion of variance in one variable that is not determined or predictable from the other variable Correlation & Prediction When variables are strongly correlated, knowledge about performance on one variable provides information that can help predict performance on the other variable Linear regression is a statistical technique for predicting scores on one variable (criterion or Y) given a score on another (predictor or X) Predicts criterion scores based on a perfect linear relationship Essential Facts Degree of the relationship is indicated by the r number, while the direction is indicated by the sign Correlation does not equal causality High correlations allow for predictive ability 10

11 Test Score Interpretation Scores and their Interpretation Raw scoresare of limited utility Norm-referencedare based on a comparison between a test taker s performance and that of other people Criterion-referenced are when the test taker s performance is compared to a specified level or standard of performance (i.e., criterion) Score Interpretation Norm-referenced Are relative to the performance of other test takers Can be applied to both maximum performance tests and typical response tests Criterion-referenced Are compared to an absolute standard Typically only applied to maximum performance tests 11

12 Score Interpretations While people often refer to norm-referenced and criterion-referenced tests, this is not technically accurate The terms norm-referenced and criterionreferenced actually refer to the interpretation of scores or test performance, not the test itself Norm-Referenced Interpretations The most important factor when making norm-referenced interpretations involves the relevance of the group of individuals to which the examinee s performance is compared Ask yourself, Are these norms appropriate for this individual? Is the standardization sample representative? Is the sample current? Is the sample of adequate size? The Normal Distribution The normal distribution is also referred to as the Gaussian or bell-shaped curve Characterizes many variables that occur in nature It is unimodal and symmetrical Predictable proportions of scores occur at specific points in the distribution 12

13 Normal Distribution The mean equals the median, so the mean score exceeds 50% of scores Approximately 34% of the scores fall between the mean and 1 SD above the mean, so a score one SD above the mean exceeds about 84% of the scores (i.e., 50% + 34%) Approximately 14% of the scores fall between the first and second standard distributions, so a score two SDs above the mean exceeds about 98% of the scores (i.e., 50% + 34% + 14%) Standard Scores Are linear transformations of raw scores to a scale with a predetermined mean and standard deviation Use standard deviation units to indicate where a subject s score is located relative to the mean of the distribution Retain a direct relationship with the raw scores and the distribution retains its original shape Reflect interval level measurement 13

14 Standard Scores Examples z-scores: mean of 0, SD of 1 T-scores: mean of 50, SD of 10 IQ Scores: mean of 100, SD of 15 CEEB Scores (SAT/GRE): mean of 500, SD of 100 Many writers use the term standard score generically Z Scores X = Raw score X = Reference group mean SD x = Standard deviation of reference group To transform z scores into other Standard Scores: New standard score = (z score) (New SS) + (new Mean) 14

15 z-scores X = 0 SD = 1 Relationship of Different Standard Score Formats T-scores X = 50 SD = 10 Wechsler IQ X = 100 SD = 15 CEEB scores X = 500 SD = 100 Percentile rank > Note: Adopted from Reynolds (1998). X = Mean, SD = Standard Deviation Normalized Standard Scores Are standard scores based on underlying distributions that were not originally normal, but were transformed into normal distributions Often involve nonlinear transformations and may not retain a direct relationship with the original raw scores Are typically interpreted in a manner similar to other standard scores Percentile Rank One of the most popular and easily understood ways to interpret and report test performance Interpreted as reflecting the percentage of individuals scoring below a given point in a distribution A percentile rank of 80 indicates that 80% of the individuals in the reference group scored below this score 15

16 Percentile Rank While easy to interpret, percentile ranks do not represent interval level measurement» They are compressed near the middle of the distribution where there are large numbers of scores, and spread out near the tails where there are relatively few scores When interpreting be sure they are not confused with percent correct Quartile Scores Based on percentile ranks The lower 25% receive quartile score of 1 26% -50% a quartile score of 2 51% -75% a quartile score of 3 The upper 25% a quartile of 4 Decile Scores Divides the distribution of percentile ranks into ten equal parts The lowest decile score is 1 and corresponds to scores with a percentile ranks between 0 and 10% The highest decile score is 10 and corresponds to scores with percentile ranks between 90 and 100% 16

17 Grade Equivalents Norm-referenced score interpretation that identifies the academic grade level achieved by the student Popular in school settings and appear easy to interpret, but they need to be interpreted with extreme caution Limitations of GE Based on assumptions that are not accurate in many situations (e.g., academic skills achieved at a constant rate with no gain or loss during the summer vacation) There is not a predictable relationship between grade equivalents and percentile ranks Limitations of GE A common misperception is that students should receive instruction at the level suggested by their grade equivalents Experts have numerous concerns about the use of grade equivalents and it is best to avoid their use in most situations Age Equivalents share many of the limitations of GE and as a general rule they should also be avoided 17

18 Criterion-Referenced Scores The examinee s performance is not compared to that of other people, but to a specified level of performance Emphasize what the examinee knows or what they can do, not their standing relative to other test takers The most important consideration is how clearly the knowledge or skill domain is specified or defined Criterion-Referenced Types Percent Correct: the student correctly answered 85% of the questions Mastery Testing: a cut score is established and all scores equal to or above this score are reported as pass Standards Based Interpretations: Not Proficient, Partially Proficient, Proficient, & Advanced Performance; Letter Grades = A, B, C, D, & F Characteristics of Norm-Referenced and Criterion-Referenced Scores Norm-Referenced Interpretations Criterion-Referenced Interpretations Compare performance to a specific Compare performance to a specific level of reference group a relative interpretation. performance an absolute interpretation. Useful interpretations require a relevant Useful interpretations require a carefully reference group. defined knowledge or skills domain. Usually assess a fairly broad range of Usually assess a limited or narrow domain knowledge or skills. of knowledge or skills. Typically only has a limited number of Typically will have several items to items to measure each objective or skill measure each test objective or skill Items are selected that are of medium Items are selected that provide good difficulty and maximize variance, very coverage of content domain; the difficulty difficult and very easy items are usually of the items matches the difficulty of deleted content domain Example: Percentile rank a percentile Example: Percentage correct a rank of 80 indicates that the examinee percentage correct score of 80 indicates scored better than 80% of the subjects in that the examinee successfully answered the reference group. 80% of the test items. 18

19 Which One? It is possible for a test to produce both normreferenced and criterion-referenced interpretations (e.g., WIAT-II) While the development of a test producing both norm-referenced and criterionreferenced interpretations may require some compromises, the increased interpretative versatility may justify the compromises Inter-Test Comparisons Test scores cannot be meaningfully compared if The tests/test versions are different The reference groups are different The score scales differ unless the tests/groups/scales have been purposefully equated Still, the context and background of test takers must be taken into account when comparing 19

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