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In statistics the most common measure used has several names:
among them are average, mean and central tendency. By any
name, the calculation is the same: the values are summed up and
the total is divided by the number of values (see the equation on
the left below). For many measures, especially in education and
economics, average is nearly useless and is often deceptive instead
of descriptive. A preferred treatment is to also provide what are
called higher order moments about the mean. The second moment
is called the variance (see the equation on the right below), while
the third moment measures skewness, the fourth tailedness, and
the fifth and sixth moments various further parameters of the
extremes of the values.