Friday, November 22, 2019

Google Data Studio Report Catalog

I've been developing (and blogging about) Google Data Studio reports for Massachusetts schools for about a year now, and I realized it was becoming difficult to locate specific reports since they were embedded in blog posts. So I've created a searchable "report of reports" catalog with links, so now the individual reports are much easier to find!

 Please visit and check it out! Please feel free to provide any feedback, or ideas for new reports and visualizations. You can find me on Twitter sharing additional resources @tiltondata.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Statewide MCAS Performance and Growth Comparison Tool 2019

The Profiles area of the DESE Web site provides information related to school and district performance on MCAS on the "Assessment" tab. There is a Student Growth Scatter plot feature that allows you to see how the district's schools performed on a particular test, where average SGP is on the x-axis, and % of students scoring in the Meeting or Exceeding Expectations is on the y-axis.

But what if you want to see your district's schools in comparison to the entire state? Or you want to look at the % of students who are scoring Exceeding Expectations only? Or you'd rather look at performance by average scaled score? That's not so easy to do with Profiles.

I built a tool using Google Data Studio that lets you choose the MCAS Next-Gen grade and subject, and then select a district or school to highlight on the graph. Check it out!

Friday, November 8, 2019

School Attending Children Report - updated with 2019 data!

The School Attending Children report is submitted to MA DESE each February by each town's school department. Each town self-reports the enrollment of all full-time students whose parents or legal guardians are residents of the city or town (not just students for whom the district is financially responsible.) Categories include private and parochial schools, collaboratives, out-of-district public schools, home schooled, charter schools, and local public school districts (including regional and voc-tech districts).

DESE makes this data available online but it is challenging to look at the information longitudinally to understand how populations have changed over time. Google Data Studio can help! Click the image below to explore the data for any Massachusetts town.

Friday, November 1, 2019

School Accountability Percentile Breakdown Report

If you've been digging in to the state accountability data for your district and school, you know that it's very complex and that there are a lot of numbers to look at! Each school receives an overall percentile (as well as subgroup percentiles) which measures the performance of students in a school (overall or in a subgroup) compared to other schools (or subgroups) in the state in one of three categories: high schools, non-high schools, and middle-high or K12 schools. These percentiles, from 1 to 99, are calculated using the percentiles of each of the individual accountability indicators for a school or subgroup through a complex weighting process. The percentiles piece of the accountability system is called the normative component of the system.

There is lots of accountability data available in School and District Profiles, but the percentiles available there are just overall percentile and subgroup percentiles. The individual percentiles of the accountability indicators (like ELA performance, graduation rate, chronic absenteeism, etc.) for a given school or subgroup are harder to find. But wouldn't it be nice to know WHICH of these indicator percentiles is particularly low or particularly high for your school?

I've created a new report in Google Data Studio which will allow you to easily explore this data (which DESE makes available as several very large public spreadsheets) for a given school and group. When using this report, please make sure you choose one district, one school, and one group. If you do not select all three, the data displayed may not be correct.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Holy Data Gamechanger! MassCUE, Conditional Formats, and More

I had the opportunity to present at the MassCUE conference this week (Harnessing the Power of Google Data Studio in Education) and was thrilled that the session was standing room only! Educators are hungry for simpler, more powerful ways to explore their data, and Data Studio is an amazing solution. My favorite Twitter response to the session? "Holy Data Gamechanger!" Pretty accurate, I'd say!

Speaking of gamechangers, this week Google added conditional formatting to Data Studio! Now we can color code tables or scorecards in Data Studio based on the value. I've added this functionality to the student roster page on a revised version of the MCAS Data Explorer report, color coding scaled scores in ELA and math to correspond with performance levels. (Currently only 10 conditional formatting rules can be applied, so adding the same formatting to science in the same table right now isn't possible...hopefully this will be expanded in the near future.)

Speaking of Twitter, I hope you'll follow me @tiltondata for resources and ideas related to data use to improve teaching and learning - Google Data Studio and beyond!

Thursday, October 17, 2019

MCAS Item Type Analysis Report

Some of the fields in district and school MCAS "megafiles" summarize student results by item type, whether it's Constructed Response items or Selected Response Items.  I love a good scatter plot, wondered whether we might learn even more from this data by looking at individual students' raw scores using these two metrics on a scatter plot.

Information about the essay subscores (Idea Development and Conventions) are also available, and I know teachers always like to know how their students did in EACH of these areas as well as overall.

So, I created a report that allows for investigation of these two areas of MCAS data, which will allow you to answer questions such as "Which of my students may need additional support in the area of writing conventions?" or "How did students do on Constructed Response math items vs. Selected Response math items?"

Check out the sample report here to see how it works.

If you've previously configured the MCAS Data Explorer tool to work with your megafile then it will only take a few clicks to connect this report to your own data too. More detailed instructions for connecting your district or school's MCAS megafile to Google Data Studio tools are available here.

Please note that this report needs certain fields configured as metrics, not dimensions, or the report will not work. If you have trouble connecting your megafile this may be the reason. Please let me know how this works for you and if you have additional suggestions!

(Note that calculated fields in a Google Data Studio report will break when the report is shared/copied using a new data source, which is why I haven't included things like Essay Total Raw Points or made the IEP filter a Yes/No filter in this shared version.)

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

MCAS Raw to Scaled Score Conversions 2019

I often have teachers ask how raw score compares to scaled score on the MCAS. Every year DESE puts out Raw-to-Scaled Score conversion tables which provide this information in tabular format. Here is a simple tool which allows you to explore this data quickly to get the answer you are looking for when someone asks, "How many questions did a 4th grader need to get correct in order to be Meeting Expectations on MCAS this year?" (Note that raw score points doesn't equal the number of questions, as some questions are worth more than one point, but this information gets you closer to answering this question.) As always your feedback is welcome!