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Classification model evaluation
Precision and recall metrics
F1 score calculation

Key Metrics for Classification Models

Tue Apr 02 2024

Key Metrics for Classification Models cover image

When evaluating the performance of a classification model, several metrics can be used, but three of the most common ones are precision, recall, and the F1 score.


Precision measures the accuracy of the positive predictions made by the model. It's calculated as the ratio of true positive predictions to the total number of positive predictions (true positives + false positives). In simple terms, precision answers the question: "Of all the items that the model predicted as positive, how many were actually positive?". High precision means that when the model predicts something as positive, it's usually correct.


Recall measures the model's ability to correctly identify all positive instances. It's calculated as the ratio of true positive predictions to the total number of actual positive instances (true positives + false negatives). In essence, recall answers the question: "Of all the actual positive items, how many did the model correctly identify?". High recall indicates that the model can identify most of the positive instances.

F1 Score:

The F1 score is the harmonic mean of precision and recall. It provides a single score that balances both precision and recall. This score is particularly useful when you want to find a balance between precision and recall or when the classes are imbalanced. F1 score ranges from 0 to 1, where a higher value indicates better performance.

When assessing a classification model, it's important to consider these metrics together. For instance, a model with high precision but low recall might be overly cautious in making positive predictions, while a model with high recall but low precision might be too liberal in predicting positives. The F1 score helps to strike a balance between these two metrics.

Additionally, depending on the specific problem and requirements, other metrics like accuracy, specificity, ROC curve (receiver operating characteristic curve), and AUC (area under the ROC curve) could also be valuable for assessing the model's performance.

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