STA 210 Lecture 5: Sensitivity and Specificity Part 1

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31 Mar 2017
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Course
Sensitivity and Specificity Part 1
Yes/No Decisions
All screening tests are faced with making a similar decision
Either the test indicates you have what the test is designed to look for (a “positive” or
“yes” result) or the test indicates you don’t have what the test is designed to look for (a
“negative” or “no” result).
Two decision errors are always possible
Naming the Errors
Can say you do have what the test is looking for, when you really don’t
False positive
Can say you don’t have what the test is looking for, when you really do
False negative
These two error rates are a common way to assess how well any screening test is working
Ideally, you want the rates to be low
Definitions
Specificity: false positive rate
The ability of the screening test to correctly identify “negative” outcomes as
“negative”
Sensitivity: false negative rate
The ability of the screening test to correctly identify “positive: outcomes as
“positive”
Conclusion
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