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"Accuracy" redirects here. For the song by The Cure, see Three Imaginary Boys.

Look

up accuracy or precisionin Wiktionary,

the free dictionary.

closeness of a measured or calculated quantity to its actual (true) value. Precision,

also called reproducibility or repeatability, the degree to which

further measurements or calculations show the same or similar results.[1] Although

the two words can besynonymous in colloquial use, they are deliberately contrasted

in the context of scientific method.

Accuracy indicates proximity to the true value, precision to the repeatability or reproducibility of the

measurement

precise but not accurate, neither, or both. For example, if an experimentcontains

a systematic error, then increasing the sample size will generally produce more

precise results, but they will not necessarily be more accurate, if there is a. A

measurement system or computational method is called valid if it is

both accurate and precise. The related terms are bias (non-random or directed

effects caused by a factor or factors unrelated by the independent variable)

and error (random variability), respectively.

Contents

[hide]

• 3 Accuracy and precision in binary classification

• 6 See also

• 7 References

• 8 External links

[citation needed]

The analogy used here to explain the difference between accuracy and

precision is the target comparison. In this analogy, repeated measurements are

compared to arrows that are shot at a target. Accuracy describes the closeness of

arrows to the bullseye at the target center. Arrows that strike closer to the bullseye

are considered more accurate. The closer a system's measurements to the accepted

value, the more accurate the system is considered to be.

To continue the analogy, if a large number of arrows are shot, precision would be the

size of the arrow cluster. (When only one arrow is shot, precision is the size of the

cluster one would expect if this were repeated many times under the same

conditions.) When all arrows are grouped tightly together, the cluster is considered

precise since they all struck close to the same spot, if not necessarily near the

bullseye. The measurements are precise, though not necessarily accurate.

However, it is not possible to reliably achieve accuracy in individual measurements

without precision—if the arrows are not grouped close to one another, they cannot all

be close to the bullseye. (Their average position might be an accurate estimation of

the bullseye, but the individual arrows are inaccurate.) See also circular error

probable for application of precision to the science ofballistics.

Ideally a measurement device is both accurate and precise, with measurements all

close to and tightly clustered around the known value. The accuracy and precision of

a measurement process is usually established by repeatedly measuring

some traceable reference standard. Such standards are defined in the International

System of Units and maintained by national standards organizations such as

the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

others still confuse precision with the confidence interval. The interval defined by

the standard deviation is the 68.3% ("one sigma") confidence interval of the

measurements. If enough measurements have been made to accurately estimate the

standard deviation of the process, and if the measurement process produces

normally distributed errors, then it is likely that 68.3% of the time, the true value of

the measured property will lie within one standard deviation, 95.4% of the time it will

lie within two standard deviations, and 99.7% of the time it will lie within three

standard deviations of the measured value.

This also applies when measurements are repeated and averaged. In that case, the

term standard error is properly applied: the precision of the average is equal to the

known standard deviation of the process divided by the square root of the number of

measurements averaged. Further, the central limit theorem shows that

the probability distribution of the averaged measurements will be closer to a normal

distribution than that of individual measurements.

the difference between the mean of the measurements and the reference

value, the bias. Establishing and correcting for bias is necessary for calibration.

the combined effect of that and precision.

A common convention in science and engineering is to express accuracy and/or

precision implicitly by means of significant figures. Here, when not explicitly stated,

the margin of error is understood to be one-half the value of the last significant place.

For instance, a recording of 843.6 m, or 843.0 m, or 800.0 m would imply a margin of

0.05 m (the last significant place is the tenths place), while a recording of 8,436 m

would imply a margin of error of 0.5 m (the last significant digits are the units).

A reading of 8,000 m, with trailing zeroes and no decimal point, is ambiguous; the

trailing zeroes may or may not be intended as significant figures. To avoid this

ambiguity, the number could be represented in scientific notation: 8.0 × 103 m

indicates that the first zero is significant (hence a margin of 50 m) while

8.000 × 103 m indicates that all three zeroes are significant, giving a margin of

0.5 m. Similarly, it is possible to use a multiple of the basic measurement unit:

8.0 km is equivalent to 8.0 × 103 m. In fact, it indicates a margin of 0.05 km (50 m).

However, reliance on this convention can lead to false precision errors when

accepting data from sources that do not obey it.

Looking at this in another way, a value of 8 would mean that the measurement has

been made with a precision of 1 (the measuring instrument was able to measure only

down to 1s place) whereas a value of 8.0 (though mathematically equal to 8) would

mean that the value at the first decimal place was measured and was found to be

zero. (The measuring instrument was able to measure the first decimal place.) The

second value is more precise. Neither of the measured values may be accurate (the

actual value could be 9.5 but measured inaccurately as 8 in both instances). Thus,

accuracy can be said to be the 'correctness' of a measurement, while precision could

be identified as the ability to resolve smaller differences.

Repeatability — the variation arising when all efforts are made to keep

conditions constant by using the same instrument and operator, and repeating

during a short time period; and

Reproducibility — the variation arising using the same measurement process

among different instruments and operators, and over longer time periods.

Accuracy is also used as a statistical measure of how well a binary classification test

correctly identifies or excludes a condition.

As determined by Gold standard

True False

Test Positive True positive False positive → Positive predictive value

outcome Negative False negative True negative → Negative predictive value

↓ ↓

Accuracy

Sensitivity Specificity

That is, the accuracy is the proportion of true results (both true positives and true

negatives) in the population. It is a parameter of the test.

positives against all the positive results (both true positives and false positives)

An accuracy of 100% means that the measured values are exactly the same

as the given values.

provided Prevalence is known, using the equation:

The accuracy paradox for predictive analytics states that predictive

models with a given level of accuracy may have greater predictive

power than models with higher accuracy. It may be better to avoid the

accuracy metric in favor of other metrics such as precision and recall.

[edit]Accuracy

and precision in

psychometrics and psychophysics

In psychometrics and psychophysics, the term accuracy is

interchangeably used with validity and constant error. Precision is a

synonym for reliability and variable error. The validity of a

measurement instrument or psychological test is established through

experiment or correlation with behavior. Reliability is established with

a variety of statistical techniques, classically through an internal

consistency test like Cronbach's alphato ensure sets of related

questions have related responses, and then comparison of those

related question between reference and target population.[citation needed]

systems

The concepts of accuracy and precision have also been studied in the

context of data bases, information systems and their sociotechnical

context. The necessary extension of these two concepts on the basis of

theory of science suggests that they (as well as data

quality and information quality) should be centered on accuracy

defined as the closeness to the true value seen as the degree of

agreement of readings or of calculated values of one same conceived

entity, measured or calculated by different methods, in the context of

maximum possible disagreement.[2]

[edit]See also

Calculation of glass properties - Decreasing accuracy of

experimental data in modern scientific publications for some glass

properties

ASTM E177 Standard Practice for Use of the Terms Precision

and Bias in ASTM Test Methods

Data quality

Information quality

Precision bias

Precision engineering

Sensitivity and specificity

Gain (information retrieval)

[edit]References

Analysis: The Study of Uncertainties in Physical Measurements.

University Science Books. pp. 128-129. ISBN 093570275X.

2. ^ Ivanov, K. (1972). "Quality-control of information: On

the concept of accuracy of information in data banks and in

management information systems". The University of

Stockholm and The Royal Institute of Technology. Doctoral

dissertation. Further details are found in Ivanov, K. (1995). A

subsystem in the design of informatics: Recalling an archetypal

engineer. In B. Dahlbom (Ed.), The infological equation: Essays

in honor of Börje Langefors, (pp. 287-301). Gothenburg:

Gothenburg University, Dept. of Informatics (ISSN 1101-7422).

[edit]External links

Uncertainty in Measurement (GUM) and International Vocabulary of

Metrology (VIM)

Precision and Accuracy with Three Psychophysical Methods

Guidelines for Evaluating and Expressing the Uncertainty of

NIST Measurement Results, Appendix D.1: Terminology

Accuracy and Precision

theory | Psychometrics | Evaluation | Critical thinking | Qualities of

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