Stats 2.0: Return of the PQ   Leave a comment


It has become arthritic cliche for one to declare, “I put the ‘pro’ in procrastination.” Tends to be said after Taco Bell closes and before the relevant textbooks have been opened and don’t we all know the feeling? If you knew not before, you have now been warned- do not use this phrase. Likewise, do not put the ‘fun’ in fund raiser and do not put the ‘super’ in superintendent. These are hollow, curdled jokes. But procrastination is no joke.

I spell it “prockrastination” for obvious reasons. Adding the ‘k’, it anagrams out to, “Trait I rock. No naps.”

College has taught me that if you want to inject legitimacy into a questionable claim, throw some numbers behind it. Quantifying your system of measure allows it to be compared to other data, and even if it’s all meaningless, you can draw valid scholarly conclusions. In order to legitimize one’s claim to superlative procrastination aptitude, some type of score must be conjured up to measure one’s procrastination talent against another’s. This is my second version of a procrastination-scoring formula, which, like all empirical data drawn from an abstract phenomenon, is flawed. It will nonetheless function fine for our purposes.

Procrastination should be measured in efficiency, that is, maximum reward for the minimal work put in. Grades are the clear reward to be maximized, and be quantified as a ranked set. The work put in is a somewhat murkier variable to handle, but might be best dealt with in terms of time spent completing a project/essay or studying for a test.

Let’s start with a statistic I call Hours After Midnight Completed (HAMC), which refers to the 24 hour day on which the project is due.
If you finish at 3am, you have a HAMC of 3.
If you finish at midnight, your HAMC is 0.
f you finish at 11PM, your HAMC is -1.

Because there is only a 1/60 chance that a project gets completed at the very top of the hour, accuracy demands some way to account for a project completed at, say, 12:30AM or 4:17AM. I used to simply treat the colon (:) as a decimal (.) for simplicity’s sake, but that unfairly biases scores toward those who finish at or very near the top of the hour.

In procrastination, minutes are precious and are not to be trivialized- a single one contains 60 opportunities for you to miss a deadline. However, if you’re doing something like calculating your procrastination score, you probably don’t want to accurately transpose the 60 piece minute into a hundred piece decimal system. Therefore, I shall institute a system of rounding purposefully laced with incentive to shave minutes off your completion time, even though finishing at a later hour in general will increase your score.

Minutes at finish time       HAMC decimal
:00-:15                                        .00
:16-:30                                        .25
:31-:45                                        .50
:46-:59                                        .75

So if you finish at 12:01, your HAMC is rounded to 0.00, and if you finish at 3:39, your HAMC is rounded to 3.50.

For non-procrastinators, you may have noticed you receive a negative HAMC for finishing before midnight. The rounded decimal system then works similarly as if no negatives were to be accounted for. Finishing at 11:42PM would produce a HAMC of -1.50 and finishing at 9:19PM would account for a -3.25 HAMC.

So by averaging your HAMC from throughout the quarter/semester/school year, you can get a HAMC average and see where you rate on the HAMC scale.

HAMC scale:
<0: You’ve wasted your time if you’ve read to this point.
0-1: Lightweight. Rookie. Jr. high student.
1-2: Bordering on bordering on satisfactory.
2-3: Heating up.
3-4: Satisfactory.
4-5: Hardened veteran.
6 and above: “prockrastination” champ.

Now this HAMC stat alone is pretty useless. It just shows how late you’ve stayed up. Maybe you were on Facebook all night and left your essay verbose but unfocused. Or maybe you got down to it, signed off AIM and Gchat, and diamond-cut smashed through your project. To qualify your staying up late, we need to compare it to our measure of reward. So we must relate HAMC to grades in a relevant way.

HAMC:grade ratio is very important in measuring procrastination efficiency.
Generally, as your HAMC goes up, your grade is expected to go down and vice versa.
So ideally, your HAMC:grade ratio is high as possible.

We’ll use the following scale to quantify the letter grade received on the item in question, in which a lower grade receives a numerically higher and desirably lower score. We will call it the IGS-Inverted Grade Statistic.
F-5
D-4
C-3
B-2
A-1
Add/subtract .5’s for + and – grades respectively for more accuracy.
Note: Don’t translate your report card grades. just use project/paper grades to which HAMC’s between -10 and 10 apply.

As mentioned before,  you probably want to keep your HAMC:IGS ratio high.
If you’re a procrastination savant, perhaps your HAMC:IGS ratio is 6:1.
divide 6/1 and you get 6.00.
The 6.00 calculated above is called PQ, the Procrastination Quotient. I like to write it in the lowercase “pq” for its visual symmetry.

if your HAMC:IGS ratio is say .25:6 and your pq is .0416….you put the ‘pro’ in “probably going to fail.”

My HAMC average this year has been about 6.50
My IGS approximates to a parsimonious 1.5
So my HAMC:IGS is 6.50:1.5
And my pq is 4.33

Not bad, but could be better. How’s your pq?

PQ is a measure of how well one’s schoolwork is appraised to be in relation to how late that person stayed up to complete it. It assumes that students procrastinate and barely make any headway into their work until the 24 hour day on which it is due. It also assumes that if you finished later, you either started later or lacked focus until the sun’s first rays were about to hatch. I think it helps evaluate how effectively one works in crunch time, and so it might be useful for potential schools to which you apply to know.

Anyone can get an A if they’ve worked hard enough to complete the item by midnight. Talent comes out when someone starts at 2AM, finishes at 6AM, and beats 90% of the class. This information should be of some value to graders and admissions officers because it gives them a better picture of one’s abilities. The benefit of having the talent to generate a high pq is the good grades and whatever pleasure was derived from not working on the item earlier, but it also calls for respect. Some people perform better with less overall effort, than others who put forth more effort when judged by the same grader. Cheers to a high pq.

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Posted May 5, 2010 by Wada in Uncategorized

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