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Maximilian Poupon

March 3, 2011

1

The relation between the hours slept before a test and the personal

satisfaction of the received grade

Research Question and Hypothesis:

In the course of my school life, there has been an ingrown issue within

the student body that I have been accustomed to with many years: the lack

of sleep. At this competitive age (14-18 years olds), students must perform

to their academic potential and work to get into their esteemed college.

Whether the lack of sleep (in order to study) can compensate for the gradual

degradation of one’s health--can be contested. Yet, the inherent adolescent

pursuit for good academic grades from prolonged studying--can be tested.

This habitual endeavour has lead me to raise a question: Is there a

correlation between the hours slept prior to an academic

examination and the individual’s personal satisfaction of the

received grade?

My hypothesis is that I think there will a correlation between these

variables. The more hours slept, the less likely the individual will have felt

satisfied with the mark he/she received for the studied exams. A correlation

refers to the relationship or association between two variables.1 For this

correlation to be realised, there must at least two variables to be

investigated and sort the cause from the effect. In the case for this

experiment, the cause: deficient hours of slept, and the hypothesized effect:

lower than the desired grade. A correlation takes part in the statistical

analysis of data.

Method:

20 students were sent a message pertaining to their hours slept before

an examination and their level of satisfaction of the grade received. Each

student had to evaluate his or her academic score of the test. Their personal

evaluation of the received score is equivalent to their personal satisfaction of

their received grade. Then, the other 32 subjects were confronted and

interrogated during the school day. Each student was asked for: most recent

exam taken, hour slept before, and their personal satisfaction of their

1 Coad, Mal. Mathematics for the international student: mathematical studies

SL for use with IB diploma programme. Adelaide Airport, SA: Haese & Harris,

2010. Print. 573

2

received grade. This enabled the data to be more controlled and restricted

the students from picking their best grade. The students were chosen at

random, no specific class, exam, or sex.

• Personal evaluation levels (1-5)

○ 1- very disappointed with the grade received

○ 2- disappointed with the grade received

○ 3-satisfied with the grade received

○ 4- very satisfied with the grade received

○ 5- surpassed desired grade, very content.

• Total students interviewed: 52

• Dates when accumulated data: January 6- January 8

• Used a Ti-84 Texas instrument calculator

Formulas used:

• Mean: =

• Pearson’s product moment correlation coefficient: (calculated through

the calculator)

Equation of regression line for y on x: (calculated through the calculator)2

Basic calculations:

SL for use with IB diploma programme. Adelaide Airport, SA: Haese & Harris,

2010. Print.

3

Hours slept (x):

• Mean: 5.75 hours

• Mode: 5 hours (14

students) The mean for the hours slept prior to an

• Σx : 299 hours

exam is about 5.75 hours. However, there

• Standard deviation:

1.64 were 14 students that slept 5 hours before an

examination (mode), implying that the data is

Personal Evaluative score

(y): quite varied. The total of hours that all the 52

• Mean: 3

individuals slept was 299 hours. Standard

• Mode: 4 (19 students)

• Σy: 156 deviation is a measure of how spread out the

• Standard deviation:

data is about the mean and it also sets a

1.09

boundary for the data. Any data surpassing

the boundaries (mean ± standard deviation) is considered to be an outlier. In

this case, the standard deviation is 1.64 (rounded to the 3rd significant digit).

Due to the chosen experiment, the data is so varied, therefore no outliers

can be acknowledged. An outlier is any value that is significantly smaller or

larger than other values. The mean for the level of personal satisfaction of

the grade received was 3. However, there were 19 students that felt well-

satisfied (level 4) of their received grades. Therefore, the average student at

TASIS England sleeps about 5.75 hours prior to an examination, and receives

level 3 satisfaction for their received grade. The sum of all the personal

scores was 156. The standard deviation was 1.09. This standard deviation is

quite small, in proportion to the personal evaluative range given (1-5),

implying that most values are close to the mean.

Graph 1:

This is a line graph to show the strength of the correlation between these two

variables. The Pearson’s correlation coefficient is used to support the

correlation’s validity.

hours slept prior to an examination and the level of satisfaction from the

grade received. A positive correlation is an association between two

variables, it is positive if an increase in one variable results in an increase in

4

the other in an approximately linear manner.3 This is indicative on the graph.

The independent variable--located on the x-axis--are the hours slept prior to

the examination. The dependent variable located on the y-axis is the

personal evaluation of the grade received (1-5). After 8 hours of sleep, a

student will probably feel level 3-4 satisfaction from the grade received. One

can see that 10 hours of sleep allows the student to receive a personal level

of satisfaction between 4-5. The pink dot on the graph represents the mean.

A line of best fit, also called a regression line, is used to predict a value of the

dependent variable for a given value of the independent variable. The

upward sloping line of best fit emphasizes the graphs positive correlation.

The Pearson’s correlation coefficient was calculated in order to

determine the strength of a linear correlation between two sets of data

(hours slept prior to an exam vs. personal evaluative score). Due to the

complexity of the formula, the GDC (graphing display calculator) was used.

The coefficient was calculated to be (r=) 0.655. This meant the data had a

moderately positive correlation. Graph 1 reflects this calculation because the

points surrounding the regression line are not exactly on the line (which

would indicate a perfect correlation), but the points are in close proximity.

The proximity between the point and regression line is called the residual.

The residual is the vertical distance between the regression line and the

point. Upon reflection of the graph, the average vertical distance between

the farthest point and the regression line is about 1.5 evaluative levels.

The regression line formula was also calculated. The regression line

was calculated because it is more accurate than the line of best fit by eye.4

The formula was: y=.436x + .490. Again, the formula was too complex, so

the calculations were done on the GDC.

Conclusion:

The data suggests that greater hours of sleep will result in greater

personal satisfaction with the grade received. This disproves my hypothesis.

This might because students generally perform better when they have slept

3

4 Bedding, Stephen. Mathematical studies: course companion. Oxford :

Oxford University Press, 2007. Print. 325

5

more and are in a healthier condition. Therefore, better performance on tests

causes better grades and finally better personal satisfaction of the grade

earned on a test.

The Pearson’s correlation coefficient was used to support the data’s

realised conclusion. And the calculations reflect that there was a moderately

strong correlation between the hours slept prior to an examination and one’s

personal level of satisfaction. The relation between these two variables was

positive—the regression line shows this.

Evaluation of experiment:

When accumulating data, all students were selected randomly. This

gave a wide range of data and enabled me to make a generalized statement

about the correlation between these two variables. A problem that occurred

during the experiment was the time constraint I was subjugated to. This

forced me to accumulate the data quickly and did not allow me to confront

the individuals in person. Therefore, I had to send out a message via the

Internet to assemble data, to make a sufficient conclusion.

The message:

Hi guys, I need you to tell me your personal

satisfaction (between 1-5) of a received grade on a test.

And how many hours of sleep you had before the test.

Personal evaluation levels (1-5):

1- very disappointed with the grade received

2- disappointed with the grade received

3-satisfied with the grade received

4- very satisfied with the grade received

5- surpassed desired grade, very content.

Max Poupon

grade. However, more data could have been amassed, so then the conclusion

could be thoroughly reinforced.

6

All calculated data is to three significant digits. The outliners were not

calculated; because the data was very varied and had to take into account all

of the student’s hours of sleep.

I found that in this experiment I could not do a lot of mathematical

analysis. This was because my question was too narrow. I could have

calculated chi-squared, but the result would have not supported my data. I

was testing the correlation between two variables, not the dependency of the

two variables. Most of the analytical results were done by a calculator. This is

because the formulas used were to complex for my level in math. Therefore, I

could not show my mathematical process.

During experimentation I encountered problems that might have

distorted the data. Firstly, individuals gave me the numbers of hours slept

before any examination taken. This allowed the data to be quite diverse and

not really specific to one subject examination. Some subjects you cannot

study for (English) so you tend not to study and go to bed earlier than usual,

if one can. However, this does not mean that the individual will do well on the

test. Math could be a viable subject to analyse the effects of the lack of sleep

prior to a test. At night, students do not specifically study one subject, but

have study for multiple subjects. In this experiment, the lack of sleep

recorded could have not been a result of prolonged studying for an exam, but

rather the result of a student trying to finish all their other work.

Consequently, next time I would also record the number of hours studied for

the test the night before. This would allow me to investigate more deeply

whether studying more for a test and sleeping less is more advantageous for

a student to receive a good grade.

7

Data Table of individuals numbers of hours of sleep prior to an

examination and their personal evaluation of the grades received (1-

5)

Personal evaluation of

Hours of sleep prior to an the grades recieved

Individ examination (x) ( levels: 1-5)

ual (6/12/2010-8/12/2010) (y)

1 5 2

2 8 4

3 6 4

4 6 2

5 7 2

6 8 3

7 3 4

8 8 4

9 4 3

10 5 1

11 5 4

12 6 4

13 9 4

14 5 3

15 4 2

16 5 3

17 5 4

18 6 4

19 5 2

20 6 3

21 7 4

22 7 4

8

23 5 1

24 4 2

25 10 5

26 7 5

27 5 4

28 6 3

29 5 3

30 4 2

31 4 1

32 5 3

33 7 4

34 5 3

35 4 2

36 3 1

37 3 1

38 4 2

39 10 4

40 6 3

41 6 3

42 7 4

43 7 4

44 8 4

45 7 4

46 6 3

47 5 1

48 4 2

49 5 3

50 6 3

51 4 2

52 7 4

Σ 299 156

Mean 5.75 3

This was all the data accumulated and what the calculations were based off.

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