Often in news reports you hear stastics quoted, such as 1 in 5 people eat fish once a week, or 20% of people got A grades in this exam. Fine, it tries to give an idea of scale. There are many ways of quoting for example
- 1 in 4
- A quarter
- 2 out of 8
Now they all quote the same proportion; my assertion is that whilst these are the same amount, that saying "a quarter of people" gives a different 'feel' from "1 in 4 people".
Assuming this assertion holds, the problem that I have is when 2 statistics are mixed together. For example (and this is the real example I heard today).
A quarter of students achieved grade A in A-level exams, compared with 1 in 10 a few years ago.
By using the x in y approach for figure a few years ago and using "a quarter" now I think exaggerates the difference between the amounts. Say we recast the sentance,
25percent of students achieved grade A in A-level exams, compared with 10percent a few years ago.
Does that change the perceived difference? I think it does - please contradict me!!