How to Calculate the Median in SPSS

In statistics, the median represents the middle value of a dataset.

It is also equal to the value located at the 50th percentile.

The median is calculated by arranging all of the observations in a dataset from smallest to largest and then identifying the middle value.

The easiest way to calculate the median of a dataset in SPSS is to use Analyze > Descriptive Statistics > Frequencies.

The following example shows how to do so in practice.

Example: How to Calculate Median 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 median value of exam scores, click the Analyze tab, then click Descriptive Statistics, then click Frequencies:

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

Then click the Statistics button. In the new window that appears, check the box next to Median under the Central Tendency group:

median in SPSS

Then click Continue. Then click OK.

The following output will appear:

In the first table of the output titled Statistics, the median value for exam score is displayed: 92.

This represents the “middle” value of exam scores.

We can verify that this is correct by manually arranging all of the values from the exam score column from smallest to largest and identifying the middle value:

Exam Scores: 68, 76, 85, 86, 88, 88, 91, 92, 94, 95, 95, 96, 97, 97, 97

The value 92 is indeed the middle value.

Related: Advantages & Disadvantages of Using Median in Statistics

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

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