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You are on page 1of 9

Measures of Spread:

Variance and Standard

Deviation

Lesson

1-6

Vocabulary

range

deviations

population variance 2

mean of a set of numbers. Calculating these measures of spread

depends on whether the set is a sample or population.

BIG IDEA

So far in this book you have studied the mean, the mode, the fivenumber summary, and the IQR. These statistics help to describe the

distribution of numbers in a data set. In the Activity below you will use

these statistics to compare two given data sets.

Activity 1

population standard

deviation

sample variance s 2

sample standard deviation s

Mental Math

Lennys average score after

3 tests is 88. What score

on the 4th test would bring

Lennys average up to

exactly 90?

The two dot plots below display frequency distributions of the height of the

players on two hypothetical womens basketball teams.

Dolphins

Sweet Peppers

height (in.)

70

75

80

70

75

80

Step 1 Describe what you think is the main difference between the two dot

plots from just looking at the graphs.

Step 2 Find the mean, median, mode, five-number summary, and IQR for each

data set.

Step 3 Determine if any of the values from Step 2 are appropriate for

distinguishing the main difference between the heights of the members

of the two teams. Justify your conclusions.

In the Activity you may have concluded that the IQR helps to distinguish

between the spreads of the two dot plots. It is one of the measures of

spread of a distribution. Yet the IQR for the Sweet Peppers is 0 inches,

which implies no spread. This number is not sensitive enough to

indicate that there are Sweet Pepper players who are not 75" tall.

The simplest measure of the spread of a distribution is its range. The

range is the difference of the maximum and minimum values of the

variable. Each team has a mean height of 75" and a range of 80" 70",

or 10". In this way the distributions are quite similar. Yet the heights of

the Dolphins seem more spread out than those of the Sweet Peppers.

Measures of Spread: Variance and Standard Deviation

SMP_SEFST_C01L06_045_053_FINAL.i45 45

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4/15/09 10:29:59 AM

Chapter 1

the heights of the players of each team. Two measures of spread that

are inuenced by every data point are variance and standard deviation.

of a Population

The Dolphins can be viewed as a population of ten women. When the

set of data is a population, Greek letters are used for mean, variance, and

standard deviation. The mean is labeled (mu), variance as 2

(sigma-squared), and standard deviation as (sigma). The variance for

a population is calculated from the squares of deviations, or differences

of each data value xi from the mean . The shortest Dolphin player is

70" tall. The deviation xi for that player is (70 75) = 5 in. The

square of her deviation is 25 square inches. Another of the Dolphin

players is 78 inches tall. Her squared deviation is (78 75)2 = 9 in2.

The population variance is the mean of the squared deviations. That

is, where n is the number of objects in a population, the variance is the

sum of the squared deviations divided by n. The population standard

deviation is the square root of the population variance. Example 1

shows how you can compute population variance and standard deviation

by hand or by using a statistics utility.

Example 1

Find the variance and standard deviation for the heights of the Dolphins

(treating them as a population).

Solution To find the variance and standard deviation it helps to organize the

work step-by-step.

Step 1 Write the data xi in a column. Find the mean by adding these numbers

and dividing by n, the number of data points, which in this case is 10.

Since the sum is 750, = 75.

Step 2 In the next column record the result of subtracting the mean from each

score, yielding xi , which in this case is xi 75. Deviations are

either positive, zero, or negative.

Step 3 Square each deviation and record each result in the next

column.

Step 4 Add the squares of the deviations. Divide the sum of the

squared deviations by n, in this case 10, to obtain the

variance 2.

Step 5 Find the square root of the variance to get the standard

deviation .

Results of these steps using technology are shown at the right and

without using technology on the next page.

46

Exploring Data

SMP_SEFST_C01L06_045_053_FINAL.i46 46

4/15/09 10:30:38 AM

Lesson 1-6

Height (in.)

xi

Deviation (in.)

xi

(xi )2

70

70 - 75 = 5

25

71

71 - 75 = 4

16

71

16

73

74

75

78

79

16

79

16

750

128

Sum

750

128

64

The mean is _

= 75 in., the variance 2 = _

=_

=

5

10

10

85

128

=_

= 12.8

12.8 in2, and the standard deviation = _

5

10

3.58 in.

Notice that the sum of the deviations equals 0. This is a great way to

check your work. Also, notice that when the deviations are squared,

values farther from the mean contribute more to the variance than

values close to the mean. For instance, a height of 80 contributes

(80 - 75)2 = 52 = 25 to the sum of squared deviations, but 74

contributes only (74 - 75)2 = (1)2 = 1. Because of this, groups with

more data close to the mean generally have smaller standard deviations

than groups with more data far from the mean.

Below is a picture of the Dolphins data showing how the standard

deviation of 3.58 relates to the distribution.

Dolphins

height (in.)

70

75

80

Basketball Beginnings

Basketball was introduced to

women at Smith College in

1892, just one year after the

game was invented.

You are asked to calculate the variance and standard deviation for the

Sweet Peppers in Question 3.

Formulas for the variance and standard deviation are usually written

using -notation. For a set of n numbers x 1, x 2, x 3, ..., xn each deviation

from the mean can be written as xi - , and the square of the deviation

as (xi - )2. Because the denition of the variance and standard

deviation are based on the mean, they can be used only when it makes

sense to calculate a mean.

SMP_SEFST_C01L06_045_053_FINAL.i47 47

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4/15/09 10:30:53 AM

Chapter 1

of a Population

Let be the mean of the population data set x1, x2, ..., xn. Then

the variance 2 and standard deviation of the

population are

n

2

( x i )2

sum of squared deviations

_____________________

_________

=

= i=1 n

n

_

= variance =

and

n

x 2

)

( i

i=1

_________

.

n

For many years statisticians only used the population formulas. Over

time, mathematicians and statisticians established that dividing by n for

a sample variance did not produce the best estimate of the population

variance. They showed that when using a sample, dividing by n 1

rather than by n provided a better estimate of population variance.

When the data is a sample, Roman letters are used for mean, variance,

__

and standard deviation. The mean is labeled x (read x-bar), variance is

s 2, and standard deviation is s. The only difference in the formula is that

n 1 is used in place of n.

of a Sample

__

Let x be the mean of the sample data set x1, x2, xn.

Then the variance s2 and standard deviation s of the sample are

n

_

( x i x )2

sum

of

squared

deviations

i=1

s2 = _____________________

= _________

n1

n1

_

and s = variance =

n

_

( x i x )2

i=1

_________ .

n1

CAUTION: In this book most of the data come from samples, so unless

directed otherwise, use the variance and standard deviation formulas

for samples.

GUIDED

Example 2

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, ten to twenty earthworms per

cubic foot is a sign of healthy soil. Mr. Green checked the soil in his garden

by digging 7 one-cubic-foot holes and counting the earthworms. He found the

following counts: 4, 23, 15, 10, 8, 12, 18.

48

Exploring Data

SMP_SEFST_C01L06_045_053_FINAL.i48 48

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Lesson 1-6

Calculate the sample variance and sample standard deviation of the numbers

of earthworms per cubic foot.

Solution Follow the same steps used in Example 1, but since this data

represents a sample, use the variance and standard deviation formulas for

_

_

samples. The symbols xi, xi x, and (xi x)2 represent the earthworm count,

deviation from the mean, and squared deviation, respectively.

sum

Count

(worms)

xi

Deviation

(worms)

_

xi - x

Square of Deviation

(worms squared)

_

(xi - x)2

8.86

78.5

23

102.82

15

2.14

10

2.86

8.18

23.62

0.86

5.14

xi = ?

i=1

0.74

Squirm In one acre of land,

you can often find more than

one million worms.

( xi - x )2 = ?

i=1

xi

90

i=1

The mean x = _

=_

12.86 worms.

7

7

7

( x i x )2

?

i=1

The variance s2 = __

= _ = ? worms squared.

?

?

decimal places.

sets of symbols: s 2 and s, and and 2. Other calculators and programs

use only one set of formulas for variance and standard deviation.

Activity 2

Use your calculator or statistics software to find (to the nearest

tenth) the standard deviation of the following data set.

89, 79, 74, 67, 99, 91, 84, 81

If more than one standard deviation is given, record both. (You

should find that the mean is 83 and both the sample and population

standard deviation are between 9 and 11.)

SMP_SEFST_C01L06_045_053_FINAL.i49 49

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Chapter 1

Questions

COVERING THE IDEAS

1. State whether the statistic is a measure of center or a measure of

spread.

a. mean

b. range

c. variance

d. interquartile range e. standard deviation f. median

A

B

C

D

the difference between the highest and lowest scores.

the score that occurs with the greatest frequency.

none of the above.

a. Calculate the variance and standard deviation for the heights of

the Sweet Peppers using the formulas for populations.

b. Find the difference of the means.

c. Find the difference of the ranges.

d. Find the difference of the standard deviations.

e. Explain in your own words what the differences in Parts bd tell

you about the two data sets.

considered samples of all women basketball players?

In 6 and 7, the measurements refer to pulse rates of two students while

jogging, in beats per minute. Use a calculator or statistical software to

find the mean and sample standard deviation for each situation.

6. student A with four measurements: 100, 120, 115, 133

7. student B with ve measurements: 110, 120, 124, 116, 120

8. Suppose you used the formula for the sample standard deviation in

Example 1. Would your answer be greater than, equal to, or less

than the population standard deviation shown there?

summarized with mean and standard deviation. Which would

require population formulas for variance and standard deviation

rather than sample formulas?

A The Environmental Protection Agency measures carbon monoxide

content of air at 15 locations of a metropolitan area.

B An algebra teacher has scores from his students nal exams.

C A consumer magazine tests four cars from each of three brands of

hybrid vehicles to evaluate operating cost per mile.

D Number of home runs per game for the Boston Red Sox in the 2008

season.

50

Los Angeles, CA

Exploring Data

SMP_SEFST_C01L06_045_053_FINAL.i50 50

4/15/09 10:32:52 AM

Lesson 1-6

10. Suppose you know the distance in miles each student in a class lives

from school. For this data set, state the unit for each statistic.

a. mean

b. range

c. variance

d. standard deviation

11. Beth found the variance of a data set to be 11. Why must her

answer be wrong?

12. Suppose two samples have the same mean, but different standard

deviations s1 and s 2, with s1 < s 2. Which sample shows more

variability?

a. Match each group with its best description.

i. consistently near the mean

ii. very widely spread

iii. evenly distributed.

b. Without calculating, tell which groups ACT

scores have the greatest standard deviation and

which have the smallest.

c. Verify your answer to Part b with calculations.

Frequency

Group X

6

4

2

0

12

15

18

21

24

27

30

ACT Score

Group Y

Frequency

is the variance?

b. If the variance is 19 kg2, what is the standard

deviation?

6

4

2

0

12

30

ACT Score

For 16 and 17, use the following data that represent the

times (rounded to the nearest 5 seconds) for 20 sixthgraders to run 400 meters.

Group Z

Frequency

and = 5.1. Students receive scores rounded to

the nearest whole number. What is the interval of

student scores that lie within one standard deviation

of the mean?

6

4

2

0

16

21

30

ACT Score

70

80

80

85

90

100 100 100 100 100

100 105 105 105 120 130 130 130 140 150

16. Find a sample of ve students out of the 20 whose standard

deviation for running time is as small as possible.

17. Find a sample of four running times whose standard deviation is

larger than 25 seconds. Compute the standard deviation.

SMP_SEFST_C01L06_045_053_FINAL.i51 51

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4/15/09 10:33:56 AM

Chapter 1

the students in the class are very much alike on some measure.

Here are four classes of students who were tested on a 20-point

chemistry test. Which class is the most homogeneous with respect

to scores on the test? Explain your answer.

__

A n = 20

x = 15.3

s = 2.5

__

B n = 25

x = 12.1

s = 5.4

__

C n = 18

x = 11.3

s = 3.2

__

D n = 30

x = 10.4

s = 3.2

REVIEW

19. Use the table below on seasonally adjusted U.S. domestic imports

for 2007.

U.S. Total Imports in Goods and Services ($ billions)

TOTAL

JAN

FEB

MAR

APR

MAY

JUN

JUL

AUG

SEP

OCT

NOV

DEC

187

186

192

191

193

195

197

197

198

200

205

203

Cumulative Total

data line graph for imports.

b. What was the total cost of U.S. domestic imports for 2007?

(Lessons 1-5, 1-3)

20. Two data sets of heights of people each have minimum = 50",

median = 67", and maximum = 80". One data set has IQR = 15";

the other has IQR = 10".

a. Draw possible box plots for each data set.

b. Which data set shows more spread? (Lessons 1-4)

21. The histogram below shows the number of states receiving the

number of legal permanent residents specied in each interval in

2006. Write a paragraph describing immigration in 2006. Include

both specic information such as maximum, minimum, mean,

or median values (when possible), and general trends such as

skewness. (Lessons 1-3, 1-2, 1-1)

Number of States

35

30

25

20

15

10

5

0

10

30

50

70

Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security

52

Exploring Data

SMP_SEFST_C01L06_045_053_FINAL.i52 52

4/15/09 10:34:54 AM

Lesson 1-6

Examinations in Mathematics or Computer Science taken by female

high school students.

Year

1974

1979

1984

1989

1994

2004

2006

2007

Percent

26

32

35

36

43

44

45

46

graph for representing these data? (There may be more than

one correct choice.)

A box plot

B cumulative frequency graph

C histogram

D line graph

b. Draw such a graph, and describe trend(s) in the data.

(Lessons 1-3, 1-1)

23. The total number of students taking AP Exams in Mathematics or

Computer Science was about 121,000 in 1994 and about 311,520

in 2004.

a. What was the average annual change in the number of women

taking AP Exams in these areas during this period?

b. What was the average annual increase in the number of men

taking these exams in this period? (Lesson 1-2, Previous Course)

n

_

A x.

n

C _x .

i=1

x

B _

n.

D none of these.

EXPLORATION

25. The Russian mathematician Pafnuti L. Chebychev (1821 1894)

proved a remarkable theorem called Chebychevs Inequality: In any

data set, if p is the fraction of the data that lies within k standard

1

deviations to either side of the mean, then p 1 _

.

2

k

must lie within 2 standard deviations of the mean?

b. What percent must lie within 3 standard deviations?

c. Test Chebychevs Theorem on a data set of your choice.

SMP_SEFST_C01L06_045_053_FINAL.i53 53

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4/15/09 10:35:23 AM

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