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Concept# Test statistic

Summary

A test statistic is a statistic (a quantity derived from the sample) used in statistical hypothesis testing. A hypothesis test is typically specified in terms of a test statistic, considered as a numerical summary of a data-set that reduces the data to one value that can be used to perform the hypothesis test. In general, a test statistic is selected or defined in such a way as to quantify, within observed data, behaviours that would distinguish the null from the alternative hypothesis, where such an alternative is prescribed, or that would characterize the null hypothesis if there is no explicitly stated alternative hypothesis.
An important property of a test statistic is that its sampling distribution under the null hypothesis must be calculable, either exactly or approximately, which allows p-values to be calculated. A test statistic shares some of the same qualities of a descriptive statistic, and many statistics can be used as both test statistics and descriptive statistics. However, a test statistic is specifically intended for use in statistical testing, whereas the main quality of a descriptive statistic is that it is easily interpretable. Some informative descriptive statistics, such as the sample range, do not make good test statistics since it is difficult to determine their sampling distribution.
Two widely used test statistics are the t-statistic and the F-test.
Suppose the task is to test whether a coin is fair (i.e. has equal probabilities of producing a head or a tail). If the coin is flipped 100 times and the results are recorded, the raw data can be represented as a sequence of 100 heads and tails. If there is interest in the marginal probability of obtaining a tail, only the number T out of the 100 flips that produced a tail needs to be recorded. But T can also be used as a test statistic in one of two ways:
the exact sampling distribution of T under the null hypothesis is the binomial distribution with parameters 0.5 and 100.

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One- and two-tailed tests

In statistical significance testing, a one-tailed test and a two-tailed test are alternative ways of computing the statistical significance of a parameter inferred from a data set, in terms of a test statistic. A two-tailed test is appropriate if the estimated value is greater or less than a certain range of values, for example, whether a test taker may score above or below a specific range of scores. This method is used for null hypothesis testing and if the estimated value exists in the critical areas, the alternative hypothesis is accepted over the null hypothesis.

T-statistic

In statistics, the t-statistic is the ratio of the departure of the estimated value of a parameter from its hypothesized value to its standard error. It is used in hypothesis testing via Student's t-test. The t-statistic is used in a t-test to determine whether to support or reject the null hypothesis. It is very similar to the z-score but with the difference that t-statistic is used when the sample size is small or the population standard deviation is unknown.

Paired difference test

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