We have expertise in how to report, visualize, and synthesize information from a wide variety of data sources, including academic growth, academic proficiency, attendance, SEL, and school culture/climate data. On the back end, our systems provide structured, query-able, secure, accurate, and up-to-date data. On the front end, our dashboards highlight patterns, uncover inequities, and inform decision making for a range of educational stakeholders.
We explore these types of challenges:
What tools do teachers need at their fingertips to understand how students are doing across a variety of data sources?
In response to the COVID pandemic in 2020, EA pivoted to developing a teacher-facing dashboard, called the Rally Analytics Platform, to help educators not only understand where their students were performing at the beginning of the 2020-21 school year, but also monitor their progress throughout the year. The platform displays historical and predicted student assessment data side-by-side with student well-being data. Through our user-centered design process, we heard from educators about the importance of tools to not just see those data, but to really make sense of them. The EA team designed and implemented features including a student grouping tool, a student notebook feature, and guided equity pauses based on users’ inputs and needs.
What information do parents and other stakeholders need in order to understand how schools in their area are performing?
For several years, states across the country have been providing publicly available school “report cards” that summarize school performance. These reports aim to communicate how schools are performing overall, whether they are supporting learning for particular groups of students they serve, and to what extent they are improving over time. At EA, we have innovated on this concept by designing interactive reporting platforms that dynamically report school-level metrics such as academic growth, college and career readiness, school culture and climate, student social and emotional learning, chronic absenteeism, and more. This helps paint a fuller picture of schools for parents and community members in a more user-centered and intuitive manner, so that these stakeholders can more deeply understand their local schools’ strengths and areas for growth.
How do we effectively convey uncertainty in metrics and analytics that rely on statistical models?
We know that one of the most pressing questions educators and leaders have is how much students are growing over the course of a school year, and beyond. The most rigorous way to answer this question is to look at academic growth, which uses a statistical model that compares how students performed to how they were predicted to perform. Any time we make a prediction, that prediction has some uncertainty associated with it. This can be tricky to convey to a user—that we are simultaneously confident about a result, but also uncertain about the exact value of that result! Our extensive user-centered design and usability testing process informed the creation of a toggle feature to view academic growth results in different ways: One view displays how close or far a school’s growth is compared to the district or state average, while another view shows the range of plausible values (or the “confidence interval”) for a particular school’s growth measure.
Reporting & Dashboards topics:
We take a user-centered design approach to create tools with and for all kinds of users. Our process begins by working with our partners to understand their “big-picture” ideas and hone in on the questions they seek to answer. We next engage with stakeholders via interviews and focus groups to develop user stories and understand the decisions they aim to make with the data. From there, we design mock-ups and prototypes for conducting usability testing to inform the functionality and design of the tool, with ongoing iteration with users until we’re satisfied with the design. We then build the dashboard based on this design, and conduct additional usability testing with the fully functional dashboard to ensure it functions as designed and intended.
We work with our partners to develop analytics-backed dashboards that make data come alive for a variety of audiences, including parents, educators, school leaders, and district administrators. Our dashboards sit on top of our state-of-the-art data warehousing, can be private- or public-facing, and are customized with features that allow users to filter, compare, synthesize, and visualize their data.
EA is awash in data and has a view of education most people don’t have, but they take that with lots of humility recognizing that there’s circumstances in every community and every state that’s different.
Interested in Learning More About EA?
We want to empower you to be informed and discerning data consumers. We get excited about the work we do and are enthusiastic about the changes it can bring to education.