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A Multicolored Exam Experience Experiment

Abstract: A statistical analysis looking at the effects of paper color on test performance. Finds no
statistical significance between scores for brightly colored paper and white colored paper.
Amanda Pandola
Dual Credit Statistics
3rd Period
May 22nd, 2016
2015-2016 School Year

Table of Contents
Report
Works Cited
Appendix A- Data
Appendix B- R Code
Appendix C- Graphs
Appendix D- Website Link
Appendix E- Revised Inquiry Pitch
Appendix F- Original Inquiry Pitch

This project is investigating the statistical differences in test performance for different
paper colors. Preliminary research showed no statistical significance in a similar study done in a
college setting, however the population for this experiment was set at a younger age. There was
also numerous studies done showing the effects of color theory on people when using different
paper colors. This experiment could give us insight into the best color of paper to be using in
order to maximize test performance. It is hypothesized that white paper will result in the best test
performance, while brightly colored paper will result in reduced test performance.
The population from which this sample was taken was first graders at Clayton
Elementary School. In order to obtain a simple random sample of the students, each student in
the class was numbered, and numbers were chosen using a random number generator to select
which students would be getting white paper tests and which students would be getting brightly
colored paper tests. However, this sample might not be representative of the entire population
because not all classes were used in this study.
An ANOVA test was used to determine if there was a statistical significance between the
two difference groups (white colored paper and brightly colored paper) in terms of test
performance. The conditions for an ANOVA test are that the data is approximately normally
distributed (within each group of data), each sample is an independent simple random sample,
and that the population variations are approximately equal for each group. The data can be seen
as being approximately normally distributed based upon the boxplot, as the middle (mean) line is
approximately in the middle of both boxes. The data samples are independent of each other,
because a test score in one group does not effect a test score in another group. The population

variance is also approximately equal, as shown by the boxplot, because one of the boxes is not
greater than twice the size of the other box. So, all three assumptions are satisfied for this test.
The F-value for the ANOVA test is 0.491. The p-value for this test is 0.492. We fail to
reject the null hypothesis based on this high p-value, as it is greater than the alpha level of 0.05.
The F-critical value for this test is 0.512, so we can also fail to reject the null hypothesis based
on the calculate F-value for this test being less than the critical value. The significance level of
0.05 was chosen for this test because it results in 95% confidence in the results of the
interpretation of the conclusion based on the p-value.
The null hypothesis for this test was that the sample mean value for the white colored
paper tests would be the same as the sample mean value for the brightly colored paper tests. The
alternative hypothesis for this test was that at least one of the sample mean values was different
from the other one. Since we fail to reject the null hypothesis, we can conclude that there is no
statistically significant difference between the two groups in terms of test performance.
The data and results in this project could have been slightly less accurate as the answers
to the test were counted as wrong had they added instead of subtracted in order to get their final
answer, or reversed/transposed a number when writing their answer. Based on this experiment, it
can be concluded that the use of paper color is neither hurting nor helping performance on tests
significantly. This follows in line with the preliminary research done prior to running these tests,
and shows that the ages of test-takers does not change whether or not they are affected by paper
color of their test. It was learned in this project that the color of paper does not effect overall
testing performance.

Works Cited
Winter, Janet K., and Esther J. Winter. "A Study of the Effect of Paper Color on Test
Performance in Business Communication." (n.d.): n. pag. University of Central Missouri,
Warrensburg. Web. 2 Apr. 2016.

Appendix A

Data
Grade Color
95 White
85 Red
95 White
100 White
95 White
100 Red
90 White
90 White
90 Red
95 Red
100 Red
90 White
100 White
95 Red
100 White
95 Red
100 Red
100 Red
100 Red
90 White

Appendix B
#Create a boxplot to showcase the data.
> boxplot(final$Grade~final$Color, main='Grade by Paper Color', xlab='Paper Color',
ylab='Grade (%))
#Run an ANOVA test.
> aggregate(Grade~Color,final,mean)
Color Grade
1 Red 96.0
2 White 94.5
> aggregate(Grade~Color,final,sd)
Color Grade
1 Red 5.163978
2 White 4.377975
> model <- aov(final$Grade~final$Color)
> summary(model)
Df Sum Sq Mean Sq F value Pr(>F)
final$Color 1 11.3 11.25 0.491 0.492
Residuals 18 412.5 22.92

Appendix C

Appendix D
Website Link: http://amandapandolastats.weebly.com

Appendix E
Revised Inquiry Pitch:
It is fascinating how many colors paper comes in these days, so many, in fact, that we
cant even name all the colors of paper Mr. Kiker gives us. Every time we have to use a certain
statistical table he has provided to us, the class erupts into debate over the true name of the color.
Is is salmon? Is it coral? We may never know. What we might be able to figure out, however, is
how this excessive use of colorful paper is affecting our exam performance. Along with my
observations in class, I also found research done on color theory in a business communication
class, which found no statistical significance in color affecting test performance when pastel
colors of paper are used (Winter). The research said that there was no statistically significant
difference in test performance when the test was completed on pastel colored paper versus when
the same test was completed on white colored paper.
The question that I will be testing in this experiment is whether or not the color of paper a
test is given on is affecting performance on said test. This will be looked at based on whether or
not there is a statistically significant difference between the scores for white colored paper tests
and brightly colored paper tests.
In order to conduct this experiment, I plan on employing some elementary school
teachers I know and using their classes to take a simple random sample from, giving random
children a the same test on different colors of paper. In order to obtain a random sample, I plan to
use class rosters and a random number generator. In my analysis of the data, I plan to use an
ANOVA test because there will be several categories (paper colors). The categories will consist
of white colored paper and a brightly colored paper color. The kids will complete a simple math

test, which will then be given a percent score according to how many questions they answered
correctly.
The main aspects of my proposed inquiry are to test whether using such brightly colored
paper that can be painful for students to look at is affecting their exam performance. Possible
issues that I anticipate are widely varying skill levels of such young students, which could
possibly throw my data off. I also anticipate Mr. Kikers denial when my data shows that his
overly colorful paper is negatively affecting his classes exam performance.

Appendix F
Original Inquiry Pitch:
It is fascinating how many colors paper comes in these days, so many, in fact, that we
cant even name all the colors of paper Mr. Kiker gives us. Every time we have to use a certain
statistical table he has provided to us, the class erupts into debate over the true name of the color.
Is is salmon? Is it coral? We may never know. What we might be able to figure out, however, is
how this excessive use of colorful paper is affecting our exam performance. Along with my
observations in class, I also found research done on color theory in a business communication
class, which found no statistical significance in color affecting test performance when pastel
colors of paper are used (Winter).
In order to conduct this experiment, I plan on employing some elementary school
teachers I know and using their classes to take a simple random sample from, giving random
children a the same test on different colors of paper. In order to obtain a random sample, I plan to
use class rosters and a random number generator. In my analysis of the data, I plan to use an
ANOVA test because there will be several categories (paper colors).
The main aspects of my proposed inquiry are to test whether using such brightly colored
paper that can be painful for students to look at is affecting their exam performance. Possible
issues that I anticipate are widely varying skill levels of such young students, which could
possibly throw my data off. I also anticipate Mr. Kikers denial when my data proves that his
overly colorful paper is negatively affecting his classes exam performance.