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Basic Examples of Measures of Central Tendency and Variation

Describe how someone may use measures of central tendency, variation, or position in their home, school, or workplace. Why would we need to have more than one way to measure each?

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Mean, Median, and Mode are common measures of central tendency. All in some sense describe the way in which data tend to cluster around some value. In arithmetic, the most common measure is the mean. In school, if a student made a 90, 92, and 97 on three exams, then her average (assuming equal weighting) would be 93. However, suppose we observed the following recorded test scores for a student: 22, 96, 96, 97, 99, 99, 100. If we added the scores and divided by 7, we would obtain an average of 87. However, the 87 looks nothing like the majority of scores, all of which are high except for one exception. There may even be reasons to suspect that the 22 was wrongly recorded or that unknown factors contributed to the abnormal data point. We call abnormal data points "outliers" and these can affect an average quite drastically. Another measure of central tendency that is not as ...

Solution Summary

Several examples of statistical measures of central tendency and variation are provided and compared.