A percentile (or a centile) is a measure used in statistics indicating the value below which a given percentage of observations in a group of observations fall. For example, the 20th percentile is the value (or score) below which 20% of the observations may be found.
The term percentile and the related term percentile rank are often used in the reporting of scores from norm-referenced tests. For example, if a score is at the 86th percentile, where 86 is the percentile rank, it is equal to the value below which 86% of the observations may be found (carefully contrast with in the 86th percentile, which means the score is at or below the value of which 86% of the observations may be found - every score is in the 100th percentile).
The 25th percentile is also known as the first quartile (Q1), the 50th percentile as the median or second quartile (Q2), and the 75th percentile as the third quartile (Q3). In general, percentiles and quartiles are specific types of quantiles.
The range of values containing the central half of the observations: that is, the range between the 25th and 75th percentiles (the range including the values that are up to 25% higher or down to 25% lower than the median) is called the interquartile range.
It is used with the median value to report data that are markedly non-normally distributed.