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What is a mean in math?

# What is a mean in math?

When you speak, you speak words. When you write, you use words. When you count, you use words. Even when you convert where you stand to miles in a car, you use words. But not when you do math.

## Mean

via GIPHY

Students often find that it is easy to confuse the mean, median, and mode. While all are measures of central tendency, there are important differences in what each one means and how they are calculated. Explore some useful tips to help you distinguish between the mean, median, and mode and learn how to calculate each measure correctly.The mean utilizes all numbers in a set to express the measure of central tendency; however, outliers can distort the overall measure. For example, a couple of extremely high scores can skew the mean so that the average score appears much higher than most of the scores actually are.

The "mean" is the "average" you're used to, where you add up all the numbers and then divide by the number of numbers. The "median" is the "middle" value in the list of numbers. To find the median, your numbers have to be listed in numerical order from smallest to largest, so you may have to rewrite your list before you can find the median. The "mode" is the value that occurs most often. If no number in the list is repeated, then there is no mode for the list. (In the above, I've used the term "average" rather casually. The technical definition of what we commonly refer to as the "average" is technically called "the arithmetic mean": adding up the values and then dividing by the number of values. Since you're probably more familiar with the concept of "average" than with "measure of central tendency", I used the more comfortable term.) (Source: www.purplemath.com)

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