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On a baseball team, the ages of each of the players are as follows:
21; 21; 22; 23; 24; 24; 25; 25; 28; 29; 29; 31; 32; 33; 33; 34; 35; 36; 36; 36; 36; 38; 38; 38; 40
Use your calculator or computer to find the mean and standard deviation. Then find the value that is two standard deviations above the mean.
μ = 30.68
s = 6.09
(
$\overline{x}$ + 2
s ) = 30.68 + (2)(6.09) = 42.86.
The deviations show how spread out the data are about the mean. The data value 11.5 is farther from the mean than is the data value 11 which is indicated by the deviations 0.97 and 0.47. A positive deviation occurs when the data value is greater than the mean, whereas a negative deviation occurs when the data value is less than the mean. The deviation is –1.525 for the data value nine. If you add the deviations, the sum is always zero . (For [link] , there are n = 20 deviations.) So you cannot simply add the deviations to get the spread of the data. By squaring the deviations, you make them positive numbers, and the sum will also be positive. The variance, then, is the average squared deviation.
The variance is a squared measure and does not have the same units as the data. Taking the square root solves the problem. The standard deviation measures the spread in the same units as the data.
Notice that instead of dividing by n = 20, the calculation divided by n – 1 = 20 – 1 = 19 because the data is a sample. For the sample variance, we divide by the sample size minus one ( n – 1). Why not divide by n ? The answer has to do with the population variance. The sample variance is an estimate of the population variance. Based on the theoretical mathematics that lies behind these calculations, dividing by ( n – 1) gives a better estimate of the population variance.
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