The Z-Score: Introduction, Formula, Real Life Example

The Z-Score also referred to as standardized raw scores is a useful statistic because not only permits to compute the probability (chances or likelihood) of the raw score (occurring within normal distribution) but also helps to compare two raw scores from different normal distributions. The Z-score is a dimensionless measure since it is derived by subtracting the population mean from an individual raw score and then this difference is divided by the population standard deviation. This computational procedure is called standardizing raw score, which is often used in the Z-test of testing of hypothesis.

Any raw score can be converted to a Z-score by

$Z-Score=\frac{raw score – mean}{\sigma}$

Example 1:

If the mean = 100 and standard deviation = 10, what would be the Z-score of the following raw score

Raw Score Z-Score
90 $ \frac{90-100}{10}=-1$
110 $ \frac{110-100}{10}=1$
70 $ \frac{70-100}{10}=-3$
100 $ \frac{100-100}{10}=0$

Note that: If Z-Score,

  • has a zero value then it means that the raw score is equal to the population mean.
  • has positive value then it means that the raw score is above the population mean.
  • has a negative value then it means that the raw score is below the population mean.

The Z-score

Example 2:

Suppose you got 80 marks in Exam of a class and 70 marks in another exam of that class. You are interested in finding that in which exam you have performed better. Also, suppose that the mean and standard deviation of exam1 are 90 and 10 and in exam2 60 and 5 respectively. Converting both exam marks (raw scores) into the standard score, we get

$Z_1=\frac{80-90}{10} = -1$

The Z-score results ($Z_1=-1$) shows that 80 marks are one standard deviation below the class mean.


The Z-score results ($Z_2=2$) show that 70 marks are two standard deviations above the mean.

From $Z_1$ and $Z_2$ means that in second exam students performed well as compared to the first exam. Another way to interpret the Z-score of $-1$ is that about 34.13% of the students got marks below the class average. Similarly, the Z-score of 2 implies that 47.42% of the students got marks above the class average.


Read about Standard Normal Table

Muhammad Imdad Ullah

Currently working as Assistant Professor of Statistics in Ghazi University, Dera Ghazi Khan. Completed my Ph.D. in Statistics from the Department of Statistics, Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan, Pakistan. l like Applied Statistics, Mathematics, and Statistical Computing. Statistical and Mathematical software used is SAS, STATA, Python, GRETL, EVIEWS, R, SPSS, VBA in MS-Excel. Like to use type-setting LaTeX for composing Articles, thesis, etc.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

x Logo: Shield Security
This Site Is Protected By
Shield Security