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Measures of Central Tendency (Part 1)

Mean, Median and Mode

MDM4U: Data Management

Slide 1/13

s tati s ti cs of one vari abl e

Mean, Median and Mode

The mean of a data set (commonly called the average) is the

sum of all values, divided by the number of values.

For a population, the mean is represented by the Greek letter

(mu), while for a sample it is represented by x.

For a population, =

x

1

+ x

2

+ . . . + x

N

N

=

x

N

.

For a sample, x =

x

1

+ x

2

+ . . . + x

n

n

=

x

n

.

For example, the mean of the data set {3, 4, 5} is

3 + 4 + 5

3

= 4.

MDM4U: Data Management Measures of Central Tendency (Part 1)

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s tati s ti cs of one vari abl e

Mean, Median and Mode

The median is the central datum when they are ordered

(either from highest to lowest or vice versa).

If there is an even number of values, the median is the mean

of the two central values.

For example, the median of the data set {1, 2, 3, 4, 5} is 3,

whereas the median of the data set {4, 3, 2, 1} is 2.5.

MDM4U: Data Management Measures of Central Tendency (Part 1)

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s tati s ti cs of one vari abl e

Mean, Median and Mode

The mode is the most frequently occurring value in a data

set.

A data set may have no mode if all values occur with the

same frequency, or several modes if more than one value

occurs with the highest frequency.

Consider the data sets A = {1, 2, 2, 1, 2, 3}, B = {4, 5, 6, 7}

and C = {8, 9, 8, 9, 10}.

The mode of A is 2. B has no mode. The modes of C are 8

and 9.

MDM4U: Data Management Measures of Central Tendency (Part 1)

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s tati s ti cs of one vari abl e

Mean, Median and Mode

Example

Five randomly-selected employees at a company earn annual

salaries of $32 000, $42 000, $32 000, $40 000 and $150 000.

Determine the mean, median and mode of the data.

There are ve values to use in the calculation of the mean.

x =

32 000 + 42 000 + 32 000 + 40 000 + 150 000

5

or $59 200

To nd the median, order the data from highest to lowest:

$150 000, $42 000, $40 000, $32 000, $32 000. The median is

the central value, or $40 000.

The mode is $32 000 since it occurs twice in the data set.

MDM4U: Data Management Measures of Central Tendency (Part 1)

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s tati s ti cs of one vari abl e

Appropriateness of Measures of Central

Tendency

Depending on the situation, some measures of central

tendency are more appropriate than others.

The mode, for example, uses the lowest value in the data. Is

this the best measure of the centre of the data?

The mean was inated by the highest salary, $150 000. Is this

the best measure?

The median represents the middle salary. Is the median a

useful measure for salaries?

MDM4U: Data Management Measures of Central Tendency (Part 1)

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s tati s ti cs of one vari abl e

Appropriateness of Measures of Central

Tendency

Some general rules of thumb that may or may not apply to a

situation:

If there are extreme values that do not represent the

general nature of the data (called outliers), the mean

may not be appropriate, as it may be skewed.

If the frequency of the data is important, the mode

might be a better measure of central tendency.

If further mathematical analysis of the data is required,

the mean is generally the best measure for use.

Note that these rules are not set in stone, and the best

measure of central tendency is situation-specic.

MDM4U: Data Management Measures of Central Tendency (Part 1)

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s tati s ti cs of one vari abl e

Appropriateness of Measures of Central

Tendency

Example

Which measure of central tendency is most appropriate for

each scenario?

Mr. Garvin examines the scores from the last unit test.

Median.

An insurance company examines the ages of 1000

individuals involved in car accidents. Mode.

The Ministry of Transportation examines the model

years of 5000 cars on a highway. Mode.

MDM4U: Data Management Measures of Central Tendency (Part 1)

Slide 8/13

s tati s ti cs of one vari abl e

The Eect of Outliers

What eect do outliers have on the mean, median and mode

of a data set?

Consider the data sets A = {1, 2, 2, 4, 6} and

B = {1, 2, 2, 4, 51}. Calculate the mean, median and mode

of each data set.

For set A, the mean is 3, the median is 2 and the mode is 2.

For set B, the mean is 12, the median is 2 and the mode is 2.

In general, outliers can greatly aect the mean, but often

have little or no eect on the median or mode.

MDM4U: Data Management Measures of Central Tendency (Part 1)

Slide 9/13

s tati s ti cs of one vari abl e

The Eect of Outliers

Example

A sherman records the length, in centimetres, of 10 bass

caught in a stream.

15 22 19 18 15 45 27 18 18 51

Determine the mean, median and mode of the data.

Identify any outliers.

Determine the mean, median and mode of the data with

any outliers removed.

Discuss the appropriateness of each measure of central

tendency.

MDM4U: Data Management Measures of Central Tendency (Part 1)

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s tati s ti cs of one vari abl e

The Eect of Outliers

Example (Continued)

For the original data set, the mean is 24.8 cm, the median is

18.5 cm and the mode is 18 cm.

There are two outliers, at 45 cm and 51 cm.

With the two outliers removed, the mean is 19 cm. The

median is 18 cm, and the mode remains at 18 cm.

MDM4U: Data Management Measures of Central Tendency (Part 1)

Slide 11/13

s tati s ti cs of one vari abl e

The Eect of Outliers

Example (Continued)

Any of the measures of central tendency may be appropriate

for this data set, depending on the situation.

If the sherman wants to know the most frequent size of sh

caught, then the mode is the best measure.

If he wishes to know the average length he can expect to

catch, the mean is the best measure.

To complete the phrase half of my catch is at least X

centimetres, the median is the best measure.

MDM4U: Data Management Measures of Central Tendency (Part 1)

Slide 12/13

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