# What is central tendency?

Central tendency refers to a statistical measure that involves getting the central-most data within a given set. In the case of probability, a set of data will always have a central tendency or likelihood in terms of data distribution. Some people also refer to central tendency as central location. Central tendency may be measured using a variety of statistical methods including mean, median, and mode. These methods are used depending on the set of data available and the purpose of measurement.

Mean is the most common method used to get central tendency. For many people, mean is encountered most often as the term “average”. Literally, the mean method gets the average data from a given set of data or variables. In the case of school grades for example, a student may get different grades from 8 different subjects. All these grades are added together and divided into 8. The product of the computation is the central tendency in the form of the mean average. The median meanwhile is taken by arranging the student grades from highest to lowest. The middle grade is considered the median or central tendency of the student grades. With 8 subjects in total, the 4th and 5th grade will correspond to the median grades. To get the actual median or central tendency, the average of the 4th and 5th grades will be computed. In some cases, the mode method is the most applicable way to get the central tendency. Mode simply takes the most common data or variable in a given set. In the case of the student grades, if there are 2 or more subjects with the same grade, then this represents the mode or central tendency. Depending on the available data, people may choose the most applicable or appropriate method to measure central tendency. To get the average grade for example, either mean or mode is applicable. To rate the most difficult subject among different students, using the mode may be the most applicable to get the central tendency value.