The average is a single number used to represent a set of numbers. Some common kinds of averages include: the arithmetic mean (usually called the mean), the median, and the mode.


The mean, also referred to as the arithmetic mean, is likely the most familiar kind of average.


Cheryl earned the following points on math tests:

88, 88, 43, 96, 85

To find the mean, find the total points scored:

88 + 88 + 43 + 96 + 85 = 400

Then divide the total points by the number of tests taken.

400 ÷ 5 = 80


The median is the middle number for a set of data when the data are ordered from least to greatest or greatest to least.


To find the median of Cheryl's scores, arrange the points in numerical order: 43, 85, 88, 88, 96. The median is the middle number, 88.


The mode for a set of numbers is the number or numbers that occur most often.


The mode for Cheryl's test scores is 88 because it occurs twice, and each of the other scores occurs only once.

Did you know?

The average length lifespan in the United States is nearly 80 years.

See also mean, median, mode.