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There are multiple ways to refer to or describe a variance or a standard deviation of either a population or a sample. Likewise, each measure has multiple appropriate equations or symbols. The first table consists of alternative ways of referring to each of these measures. The second table consists of equations or symbols for each of these measures.

Alternative Description


a. Square root of the population variance

b. Mean squared deviation from the sample mean

c. Average squared distance from the population mean

d. Standard distance from M

Equation or Symbol

1. √σ²
2. ∑(X – μ)² / N
3. SS / (n – 1)
4. √(∑(X – M)² / (n – 1))

For each of the following four measures, select one appropriate description from the first table (lettered) and one appropriate equation or symbol from the second table (numbered). Each answer will be used only once.

MeasureAlternative DescriptionEquation or Symbol
Sample variance        
Population variance        
Sample standard deviation        
Population standard deviation        


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