The mean value of a dataset represents the average value. It gives us a good idea of where the center of a dataset is located.

The standard deviation of a dataset represents how spread out the values are in a dataset. It gives us an idea of how closely the observations are clustered around the mean.

Using only these two values, we can gain a strong understanding about the distribution of values in a dataset.

The easiest way to calculate the mean and standard deviation of a dataset in SPSS is to use **Analyze** > **Descriptive Statistics** > **Descriptives**.

The following example shows how to do so in practice.

**Example: How to Calculate Mean and Standard Deviation in SPSS**

Suppose we have the following dataset in SPSS that shows the exam scores received by various students in some class:

To calculate the mean and standard deviation of exam scores, click the **Analyze** tab, then click **Descriptive Statistics**, then click **Descriptives**:

In the new window that appears, drag **Exam_Score** to the **Variables** panel:

Then click the **Options** button. In the new window that appears, make sure to check the boxes next to **Mean** and **Std. deviation**:

Then click **Continue**. Then click **OK**.

The following output will appear:

From the output we can see:

- The mean exam score is
**89.67**. - The standard deviation of exam scores is
**8.372**.

In addition to calculating these metrics, it can be helpful to create a histogram to visualize the distribution.

To do so, click the **Graphs** tab, then click **Histogram**:

In the new window that appears, drag **Exam_Score** into the **Variable** panel:

Once you click **OK**, a histogram will be generated that shows the distribution of exam scores:

This histogram helps us see that although the mean exam score is **89.67**, the exam scores vary quite a bit, ranging from the mid 60’s to the high 90’s.

**Additional Resources**

The following tutorials explain how to perform other common tasks in SPSS:

How to Calculate a Five Number Summary in SPSS

How to Create a Frequency Table in SPSS

How to Calculate Percentiles in SPSS