Students and Universities - Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Committee Contents



The statistical significance of a trend depends on the closeness of the data-points to a straight line. In the example below, the computed upward trend (the "m" in the regression equation) for Mathematical Science is marginally greater than that for Engineering & Technology. However, the greater amount of zigzag in the data-points making up the former means that the upward trend is less robust, statistically, than that of the latter. Of course, the trend relates only to the data-points displayed: there is no way of telling from the data where the next data-point in each sequence might lie. Observers of once-booming house prices and stock markets will be only too aware of the force behind the financial services' warning that past performance is no guarantee of future success.

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