What is Descriptive Statistics?
You can find the class average and statistics terms called the
Hi, I'm Ben Owens. I'm a math educator at the University of North Texas, here for About.com, to explain descriptive statistics. Numbers and data are all around you: in the daily newspaper, in your mail, and in online articles. One way to analyze numbers and data is called: descriptive statistics. Say you're a teacher, and you have a bunch of exam results. Some students did really well, others did not do so well, and others are kind of in between. Well, if you'd like to analyze these results, and get an overview of how the entire class is doing, you can make some calculations. And that's exactly what descriptive statistics is: you calculate quantities that describe your data -- in our case exam results.You can find the class average, for example, and find statistics terms called the mean, median and mode. They are ways to find the center of the exam results. Then, you can also find out how spread out the data is. If the class was doing really well overall, but there were two students who didn't study for the test and had a very low result, they can throw off the average. In statistics, you'd find the range and standard deviation to find out how spread out the data is. And then there are also more complicated techniques to describe the data, such as regression and correlation.They are a bit too complicated to explain right now, but we have a lot more on descriptive statistics, and math and education in general, at education.about.com. Thanks for watching!