# Mathematics, Numbers, and Computers - What Is The Difference Between A Median, A Mean, And A Mode?what is the difference

jmj616 | Certified Educator

Let's take the following set of scores on a test:

45, 67, 67, 74, 85, 85, 85, 90, 91, 97

The median is simply the middle number.  You can find this by crossing off one number at a time from the left side and then from the right side.  In other words, cross 45, then 97, then 67, then 91, and so on.  The median is 85.

The mode is the number that appears most frequently.  The number 85 appears the most times (3), so it is the mode.

The mean is what people often call the "average."  You find it by adding up all the numbers and then dividing by the amount of numbers in the set.

So,

45+67+67+74+85+85+85+90+91+97+98=884

There are 11 numbers in our set, so,

884 divided by 11=80.36

The mean is 80.36

pohnpei397 | Certified Educator

All three of these are measures that try to define a set of data -- they try to define what is "normal" for that data set.  But they are (or can be) very different numbers.  They are certainly derived in different ways.

Mean is what is better known as "average."  You take your numbers and add them.  You divide the sum of the numbers by how many numbers there were.

To find a median, you list your numbers out from low to high.  Then you pick the number that is right in the middle (say number 7 out of a list of 13 numbers).

Mode is the number that occurs most frequently in a data set.