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A Strict, Formal Dress Code Survey

Cen Zhou
Jeffrey Blanco
Yuhao Bai
Justine Zayhowski
Introduction to the Dress Code

A strict, formal dress code at Cushing Academy is something that people have
wondered about. Many prestigious prep schools, especially in New England, have a
formal dress code in place. Some think that a formal dress code presents the school well.
Others feel that it adds nothing to the atmosphere of the school. Many students seem to
be against the idea of a formal dress code, however, some feel they would rather have it.
We decided to ask the students themselves whether they would be in favor of a formal
dress code to see what they really think about this issue. In our ballots we also required
them to tell us their gender as well so that we could see if there was a difference in how
boys and girls felt about a formal dress code. The question we asked was: Are you in
favor of a strict, formal dress code?

A formal dress code at Cushing Academy would be similar to how other prep
schools in New England enforce their dress codes. Brooks, for example, has a formal
dress code and they state that the dress code at Brooks “is designed to promote a
seriousness of purpose and to teach fluency in dressing, thus preparing students for
various professional and social settings.” Brooks feels that a formal dress code is an
extension of the learning experience and teaches students how to dress appropriately in
order to prepare them for the adult world they will enter. They also state that faculty at
Brooks are the, “final judges of what constitutes ‘appropriate dress.’” Any students at
Brooks must change immediately if ever they are out of dress code and cannot continue
class or any activity they are in until they are appropriately dressed.

The dress code for boys includes, “blazer or sport coat, collared dress shirt
(tucked in) with tie, or turtleneck. Dress slacks, trousers, corduroys or Bermuda shorts.
Dress shoes, boots, leather sandals, Birkenstocks (no beach wear); hiking boots (winter
only).” For girls the dress code is, “Dress or skirt with blouse or turtleneck (tucked in).
Slacks or trousers with blouse or turtleneck (tucked in) and ladies’ blazer/jacket, khakis
or corduroys or Bermuda shorts. Dress shoes, boots, leather sandals, Birkenstocks (no
beachwear); hiking boots (winter only).” The clothing should also be free of any holes or

Here is a copy of the ballot:

Circle one response for each question:

1. What is your gender?

Male Female

2. Should Cushing Academy adopt a strict, formal dress code?

Yes No

Introduction to Math Concepts

A good way to plot two distributions in relation to each other is through the use of
two way tables. In a two way table, the explanatory variable is usually, but not always,
put in terms of columns and the response variable as the rows. Two way tables are a good
way to quickly extrapolate the data from a study.

There are three different uses for the chi squared distributions. The first is to test
for association between two categorical variables, the second is the goodness of fit test
(seeing how a population distribution relates to a specified distribution), and the test for
homogeneity of distributions of three or more categories. The first use is the one that will
be focused on. As stated before, chi squared distributions are used to assess whether or
not there is an association between two categorical variables. This test is the equivalent of
a significance test but is used for categorical data. The null hypothesis would be a
statement of no association between the two variables. The alternative hypothesis is a
statement of association between the two categorical variables. It is also important to note
that using chi squared distribution there are no one sided or two sided alternative
hypotheses. The alternative is merely the opposite of the null. The test statistic for chi
squared distribution is X^2 = ∑ (observed – expected) ^2/expected. The expected cell
count is calculated by (row total*column total)/ n. N is the overall total. Also, if using a
chi squared table instead of a graphing calculator, the degrees of freedom may be
calculated by (number of rows – 1)*(number of columns – 1). Usually if the p-value
corresponding to the test statistic is less than 0.05, it is said to be statistically significant.
The graph of the chi squared distribution is skewed to the right as seen below:

The chi squared test is the best way to figure out if there is, or whether it is likely there
could be, and association between two categorical variables.

In order to figure out if there is an association between gender and preference to a
formal dress code, we randomly select 65 people (30 males and 35 females) and run a
chi-squared test based on their answers. To get a sample that can represent the Cushing
population, we decided to ask for different groups’ opinions. Considering that usually
friends, people with similar ideas, sit together at one table in the dining hall we randomly
choose several people from each table to answer the question during D lunch period one
day. In this way, we get a simple random sample that can best represent the opinions of
the Cushing community.

Thus, we propose our null and alternative hypotheses:

Null hypothesis: There is no association between “preference to dress code” and

Alternative hypothesis: There is an association between “preference to dress code”
and “gender”.

After we collect data, we create the following table that tells our survey result.

Two – way-table for the favor of a formal dress-code and gender:

  Yes  No  Total 

Male  12  18  30 

Female  13  22  35 

Total  25  40  65 


1. Find the degrees of freedom.

df = (r-1)*(c-1) = (2-1)*(2-1) = 1
2. Calculate the expected cell counts by doing (row total*column total)/overall total
3. Put the observed values in matrix A and the expected in matrix B and use the chi
squared calculator. Or do X^2 = ∑ (observed – expected) ^2/expected and use the
distribution table. (Expected is bold.)

Yes No Total
Male 12 18 30
11.5 18.5
Female 13 22 35
13.5 21.5
Total 25 40 65

χ² = 0.0557
p = .813
df = 1

P-value = 0.813 > 0.05 therefore, the data is not statistically significant and one cannot
say there is a difference in association between gender and response to a question on
dress code. Females and males share similar opinions on this subject.

Tables and Figures

Joint Proportion Table:

The proportion of each gender who agree with the formal dress-code:
Population  n   X 

Male  30  12 

Female  35  13 

Total  65  25 

Marginal Distribution Tables:

Marginal distribution of gender:
  Male  Female 

Proportion  46%  54% 

Marginal distribution of supporting a formal dress-code:

  Yes  No 

Proportion  38%  62% 

Conditional Distribution Tables:

Conditional distribution of in favor of dress-code for female:
  Yes  No 

Proportion  37%  63% 

Conditional distribution of in favor of dress-code for male:

  Yes  No 

Proportion  40%  60% 

In conclusion, the p-value = 0.813 > 0.05, so it does not show us a strong
association between the response on dress –code and gender. Therefore, the data is not
significant at the 0.05 significance level and we cannot reject the null hypothesis (there is
no association between gender and preference for a strict dress code) in favor of any
alternative hypothesis. However, the study did show that the majority of students,
regardless of gender, do not want a strict, formal dress code. Any attempt to formalize the
Cushing Academy dress code would not be supported by the general student body.
The sample size of this study was only 65, whereas one would prefer to have a
larger SRS so outliers could not impact the results as greatly. In order to make it more
accurate, the sample size of this report should be greater. Also, despite the goal not to,
there is a tendency for people to ask their friends. His or her opinion can have a
significant effect on his or her friends, so it can cause a failure of the report. There was
probably a better way to randomize the sample. Peer pressure could also have caused a
difference in the way people answered the question. Lack of information about dress-
code can also confuse people’s idea, so collecting more information and making the
subjects more aware of the question’s meaning can also improve the accuracy of the