Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Data Envy

America often gives me data-envy. This is an older New York Times piece, but just look at the data visualisation that's there possible. Because every child in the country writes the same maths and reading tests, there's data on how far each school is ahead or behind others. And it can be mapped against parents' socioeconomic status, and sorted by race.

I can't do it justice here. Click over and hover over the graphs. They're all interactive.

Here's educational attainment mapped against parents' SES. Cullman City, highlighted, is achieving outcomes that would be about what would be expected among schools where the family income is $103,000, not Cullman's $43,000. Why are they able to achieve those outcomes? Americans can start asking those questions and figuring out what lessons Cullman City can teach other schools, because they have that data.

They've other graphs showing the differences across races within the same school, again mapped onto parents' SES. Unfortunately, those charts only compare White, Hispanic and Black students; it would be very interesting to add Asian students in as well. 

Being able to identify well-performing and poorly performing schools, with proper adjusting for the kids' background characteristics, seems rather important in identifying well-performing and poorly performing schools.


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