I'm not sure how to correctly calculate the standard deviation of recall, precision, accuracy and F-score.

For example:

TP  FP  FN  TN  total   recall   precision    F-Score    accuracy                           
40  10  15  50  115     0.727      0.800       0.762      0.783

TP = True Positive, FN = False Negative, etc.

(Do I use the formula for standard deviation of a binomial distribution: $\sigma = \sqrt{np(1-p)}$? OR $\sigma = \sqrt{\frac{p(1-p)}{n}}$ with $n$ = total and $p$ = recall, precision, F-Score, or accuracy.)

How can i calculate the standard deviation?

I'm not even sure if it makes sense but i was asked to check this.


1 Answer 1


In order to even think of calculating the SD from a single observation you have to know the distribution of the measure, and it is not the case for the majority of predictive models.

Thus, you are left with non-parametric ways of estimating SD; for instance, you can cross-validate the model and then use the vector of precision/recall/F/acc values over folds.

  • $\begingroup$ yes i think you're right about the cross validation. $\endgroup$
    – ddd
    Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 21:47
  • $\begingroup$ Hard to see this as a "single observation" when there are 115 cases observed. $\endgroup$
    – shabbychef
    Commented Nov 6, 2023 at 18:00

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