Precisely Innaccurate!!!

Day 4                                  1/19/12

Students were asked to Explain the difference between accuracy and precision. 

A few responses posted below…



So…notice any similarities…Its that blasted dartboard metaphor. Accuracy is compared to the ability to hit the “bullseye”. This part I am okay with. Precision is compared to the ability to place the darts in the same area. Now the objections begin. Where does the come from? How does precision get confused with the reproducability of a measurement? Have you guessed it yet?

Textbooks! I have seen this comparison in numerous text books and it fails every time.

I like to adjust their view of the metaphor by telling them to view precision this way; “Precision can be compared to the fine-ness of the tip of the dart”. If your goal is to hit the exact center of the dart board you can do that more precisely with a smaller diameter dart tip.

Tomorrow we discuss our ability to track the precision of our measurements. Sig Figs, they are so excited


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