Interpreting Box-and-Whisker Plots

If you were asked to evaluate a box plot to find the median, quartiles, extremes and outliers, would you know how? What does it mean if the ‘box’ in a box plot is unusually long or short? Does a long ‘whisker’ on one or both sides mean something important?Review the lesson below and we’ll return to answer these questions at the end.Box-and-whisker plots (or “box plots”) are commonly used to compare a single value or range of values for easier, more effective decision-making. Box and whisker plots are very effective and easy to read, and can summarize data from multiple sources and display the results in a single graph.

Grades 6 through 7 Material from CK-12

Preview Assign

Why Use This Content?

Read Receipt

See when students have begun their work. Or not.




Understand that a set of data collected to answer a statistical question has a distribution which can be described by its center, spread, and overall shape.


Display numerical data in plots on a number line, including dot plots, histograms, and box plots.


Use measures of center and measures of variability for numerical data from random samples to draw informal comparative inferences about two populations.



Informally assess the degree of visual overlap of two numerical data distributions with similar variabilities, measuring the difference between the centers by expressing it as a multiple of a measure of variability.