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# Mode, Median and the Mean: Measures of Central Tendency

A measure of central tendency is a single score that best represents an entire set of scores The measures of central tendency include the mode the median and the meanThe mode is the most frequently occurring score in a set of scores In the frequency distribution of exam scores discussed the mode is 90 If two scores occur equally often the distribution is bimodal If the data set is made up of a counting of categories then the category with the most cases is considered the mode For example in determining the most common academic major at your school the mode is the major with the most students The winner of a presidential primary election in which there are several candidates would represent the mode--the person selected by more voters than any otherThe mode can be the best measure of central tendency for practical reasons Imagine a car dealership given the option of carrying a particular model but limited to selecting just one color The dealership owner would be wise to choose the modal colorThe mean is the arithmetic average or simply the average of a set of scores You are probably more familiar with it than any other measure of central tendency You encounter the mean in everyday life whenever you calculate your exam average batting average gas mileage average or a host of other averagesThe mean of a sample is calculated by adding all the scores and dividing by the number of scores

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