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Understanding

ANOVA
and
ANCOVA
Jessica Cannon
CURR 7004

What is ANOVA?
Analysis of variance
Allows us to compare the mean score of a continuous variable between a number of groups

(Muijs, 2011)
Used when there are two or three categorical independent variables with small levels of

categories (2-4) (Leech, Barrett, Morgan, 2015)


Uses both linear and non-linear models
Tests the null hypothesis that several group means are equal in the population (Muijs, 2011)

What is ANCOVA?
Analysis of co-variance
Blends ANOVA and regression
Uses general linear models
Typically used to adjust or control for differences between groups based on
another interval-level variable (Leech, Barret, Morgan, 2015)
Has a covariate (The interval-level variable used to control for differences
mentioned above)

How are they similar?


Both ANOVA and ANCOVA are difference statistics (used to observe the difference

between variables)
Both are have two or more independent variables and one scale dependent

variable
Both statistics give you additional information beyond what would be collected

through basic inferential statistics


(Leech, Barrett, and Morgan, 2015)

Assumptions of ANOVA and ANCOVA


Assumption 1: Observations are independent
Using random sampling (when possible) is the best way to ensure that the observations are independent
There should be no known relationships among participants

Assumption 2: Variances of each of the groups must be equal


Homogeneity of variances is particularly important if sample sizes differ across levels of the independent
variables

Assumption 3: The dependent variable must be normally distributed for each group
Can be tested by comparing boxplots or computing skewness values
(Leech, Barrett, and Morgan, 2015)

Additional Assumptions of ANCOVA

Specifically for ANCOVA, there is a fourth assumption that must


be met:
A linear relationship must exist between the covariates and the
dependent variable
This can be checked with a scatterplot (or matrix scatterplot for more than one
covariate)
The regression slopes must be the same for each group (homogeneity of
regression slopes)
(Leech, Barrett, and Morgan,
2015)

Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA)


Problem

We will work through the following problem:


Do boys have higher math achievement than girls if we control
for differences in the number of math course taken (using the
hsbdatanew data file)?
The steps to this problem can also be found on pages 206-211 in
our textbook.

Step 1: Assessing the homogeneity


of the regression slopes

Analyze-->General Linear
Model--> Univariate
Dependent Variable: math
achievement
Fixed Factor(s): gender
Covariate(s): math courses
taken

Step 1: Assessing the homogeneity


of the regression slopes

Click Model and then Custom under


Specify Model
Move gender from the Factor &
Covariates box to the Model box. Do the
same for mathcrs.
Next, highlight both gender and mathcrs
(using the SHIFT key) and while both are
highlighted, click the arrow to move the
variables to the Model box.
You should now see gender*mathcrs in
the Model box.
Click Continue and then OK.

Step 2: Selecting Univariate


Options

Analyze General Linear Model Univariate


Click RESET before proceeding
Once again, move the following variables to
the appropriate boxes:
Dependent: math achievement
Fixed Factor: gender
Covariates: math courses taken

Step 2: Selecting Univariate


Options

Click Options
Select Descriptive statistics,
Estimates of effect size, Observed
power, and Homogeneity tests.
Move gender to the Display means
for box
Click Compare main effects
LSD (non) should appear in the
Confidence interval adjustment
drop-down menu
Click Continue then OK

Interpreting the Output

The factor and


covariate do not
interact, so the
assumption of
homogeneity of
regression slopes
has been met.

Interpreting the Output


The mean score of males
was four points higher than
females on math before
the ANCOVA

Interpreting the Output


Considering p<.05, this is
significant and indicates that
the assumption of
homogeneity of variances
has been violated. Since the
cell sizes are similar (male=
34 and female= 41), this is
not a big problem.

Interpreting the Output


The covariate
(mathcrs) is
significant, but the
gender difference is
not.

The power for the


covariate (mathcrs)
is extremely high
(1.0), and for gender
it is very low (.09).

Interpreting the Output

The means of males and


females are similar to one
another after differences in
math courses taken were
controlled.

How to Write Results


Results
An analysis of covariance was used to assess whether boys have higher math
achievement than girls after controlling for differences between boys and girls in the
number of math courses taken. (The following assumptions were checked, (a)
independence of observations, (b) normal distribution of the dependent variable, (c)
homogeneity of variances, (d) linear relationships between the covariates and the
dependent variable and (e) homogeneity of regression slopes. The assumption of
homogeneity of variances was violated; however, because cell sizes were similar (34 and
41), this violation did not present an issue. All other assumptions were met.) Results
indicate that after controlling for the number of math courses taken, there is not a
significant difference between boys and girls in math achievement, F(1,72)= .36, p=.552,
partial eta2=.01. Table 9.5 presents the means and standard deviations for boys and girls
on math achievement before and after controlling for number of math courses taken. As
is evident form this table, virtually no difference between boys and girls remains after
differences in number of math courses taken are controlled. (Tables on following slides).

Reporting Results
Table9.5
AdjustedandUnadjustedGenderMeansandVariabilityforMathAchievementUsingMathGradesasa
Covariate
Unadjusted

Adjusted

SD

SE

Males

34

14.76

6.03

12.89

.73

Females

41

10.75

6.70

12.29

.66

Reporting Results
Table9.6
AnalysisofCovarianceforMathAchievementasaFunctionofGender,UsingNumberofMathCoursesTaken
asaCovariate
Source

df

MS

Partialeta2

MathCourses

1783.89

106.14

<.001

.60

Gender

6.00

.36

.55

.01

Error

72

16.81

References

Leech, N.L., Barrett, K.C., & Morgan, G.A. (2015). IBM SPSS For Intermediate Statistics:
Use and Interpretation (5th Ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.
Muijs, D. (2011). Doing Quantitative Research in Education with SPSS (2nd Ed.)
Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.