Research

How to do a hypothesis test correctly every time

Table of Contents

Read the problem carefully and find the claim.

It is critical that you identify what is being claimed. If you tend to skim-read, I suggest you actually read the problem out loud so that you have to pronouce every word. Granted, this may get you some looks if you are in a coffee shop or library quiet space. But I find it extremely helpful.

If you do not find the claim, it is very likely you will not get the problem correct. 

Example: 

The local school board has been concerned about the effectiveness of policies of the superintendent who was hired two years ago. On a state mandated standardized math test, the average score of 10th grade students in the state was 260 points with a standard deviation of 15 points. The superintendent believes 10th grade students in her district will score higher than the state average. The Board asked the Superintendent to provide some evidence the local students will do well on the test. 50 randomly selected 10th grade students in the district took the exam early. Does the data from the 50 students who took the early exams support the superintendent’s belief about how the local students will perform on the exam?

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

It is critical that you identify what is being claimed. If you tend to skim-read, I suggest you actually read the problem out loud so that you have to pronouce every word. Granted, this may get you some looks if you are in a coffee shop or library quiet space. But I find it extremely helpful.

If you do not find the claim, it is very likely you will not get the problem correct. 

Example: 

The local school board has been concerned about the effectiveness of policies of the superintendent who was hired two years ago. On a state mandated standardized math test, the average score of 10th grade students in the state was 260 points with a standard deviation of 15 points. The superintendent believes 10th grade students in her district will score higher than the state average. The Board asked the Superintendent to provide some evidence the local students will do well on the test. 50 randomly selected 10th grade students in the district took the exam early. Does the data from the 50 students who took the early exams support the superintendent’s belief about how the local students will perform on the exam?