The Math Forum

Search All of the Math Forum:

Views expressed in these public forums are not endorsed by NCTM or The Math Forum.

Math Forum » Discussions » Education » math-teach

Notice: We are no longer accepting new posts, but the forums will continue to be readable.

Topic: Mean, Median and Mode - the three-headed monster
Replies: 7   Last Post: Jan 25, 2014 11:13 PM

Advanced Search

Back to Topic List Back to Topic List Jump to Tree View Jump to Tree View   Messages: [ Previous | Next ]
Robert Hansen

Posts: 11,345
From: Florida
Registered: 6/22/09
Re: Mean, Median and Mode - the three-headed monster
Posted: Jan 11, 2014 5:31 PM
  Click to see the message monospaced in plain text Plain Text   Click to reply to this topic Reply

But when the data is skewed the median gives a better sense of ?average? than the mean. That is why it is used so often. Actually, knowing both the mean and the median is better. I do agree that it is silly to introduce all three in elementary school. The average is more easily understood and students can relate it to how their final grades are calculated. Of course, when they blow a single test and it drops their grade a whole letter, they might want to revisit the notion of median.:)

In the end, NOTHING beats the raw data. In this case a picture is worth a thousand words. With the data visualization tools available to us today, just plot the data out and you can see all of the nuances. I found this out when analyzing test scores. The distributions are simply too involved to meaningfully quantify into just a couple of numbers. The quartile and quintile charts that the researchers offer are a step in the right direction, but even then, you can get more out of looking at the raw data.

Bob Hansen

On Jan 11, 2014, at 2:16 PM, Donald Sauter <> wrote:

> I've just put a web page with my thoughts on math's three-headed monster, the Mean, Median and Mode.
> I explain why the last two need chopping off.
> Donald Sauter

Point your RSS reader here for a feed of the latest messages in this topic.

[Privacy Policy] [Terms of Use]

© The Math Forum at NCTM 1994-2018. All Rights Reserved.