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The mathmatical formula average is routinely used to provide an indicator regarding a list of data points. Often this calculation is done in a drawn out way: totaling the numbers, counting the number of data points then dividing these two numbers. Microsoft Excel has a built in function which executes these steps automatically. The name of the function is…you guessed it Average(). Below we have a list containing the number of applications submitted each academic year for entrance into a school.

1. Formula: =Average(Range)

a. Range: This represents the array or list which contains the data you would like to be included in the average.

2. Under the list of data points type in the following: =Average(

3. Next highlight or type in the entire range of data : C3:C15

4. Using the average function we now see that the average number of applications from 1999-2011 Academic Year (AY) is 203.

a. Now this is the average for a 13 year period. What if we would like to see how applications have changed over time without looking at every data point? Why not try a 3 year rolling average?

5. Next to the list of applications received type in the average function but this time only highlight or enter the address for 3 cells. For example C3:C5.

6. Copy the cell containing the formula and paste it at specific intervals throughout the data set. Now the dataset can be critiqued by the total average over the 13 year period and the three year rolling average. Statistical representations such as this helps individuals understand and process the meaning behind large datasets.


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