Keep off the Median

Here are the sample test scores you have seen so often:

100, 100, 99, 98, 92, 91, 91, 90, 88, 87, 87, 85, 85, 85, 80, 79, 76, 72, 67, 66, 45

The "middle" score of this group could easily be seen as 87. Why? Exactly half of the scores lie above 87 and half lie below it. Thus, 87 is in the middle of this set of scores. This score is known as the median.

In this example, there are 21 scores. The eleventh score in the ordered set is the median score (87), because ten scores are on either side of it.

If there were an even number of scores, say 20, the median would fall halfway between the tenth and eleventh scores in the ordered set. We would find it by adding the two scores (the tenth and eleventh scores) together and dividing by two.

Let's do some Web-surfing to find statistics we can use to better describe the median.

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send comments and questions to Jay Hill