Categories for Policy Initiatives

The Importance of Data Visualization in Decision Making

March 1, 2017

Sage Spotlight on Data Visualization

The February issue of Sage Publishing’s newsletter, Sage Methods Minute, presents useful guidance on understanding and managing data visualization in making effective decisions. The newsletter offers a lecture, interview, and webinar on this important but often neglected topic. Productive data-based decisions rely on the effective use of analytics and the acquisition, interpretation, and communication of meaningful patterns in data. In an increasingly complicated world in which vast quantities of data are available, it is essential that educators become astute in presenting data adapted to different audiences and in identifying deceptive data so they are able to make wise decisions in the service of educating children. The Sage Spotlight newsletter on visualization includes Tailoring Data Visualization to Reach Different Audiences by Tom Schenk; Textbooks in Data Visualization: 60 Seconds with Andy Kirk; and Webinar: Learn the Essentials of Data Visualization by Andy Kirk and Stephanie Evergreen. For those interested in additional resources on this topic, the works of Edward Tufte, professor emeritus of political science, statistics, and computer science at Yale University, and Howard Wainer, adjunct professor of statistics at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, provide insight in how to deliver information that communicates your message.

Sage February Newsletter: http://info.sagepub.com/q/17I2b2bhfM2Fc8adzqeF1h/wv

Edward Tufte: https://www.edwardtufte.com/tufte/index

Howard Wainer: https://www.amazon.com/Howard-Wainer/e/B000AP7SUU

 


 

Increasing Opportunities for Teachers to Plan Lessons

February 28, 2017

Reimagining the School Day: Innovative Schedules for Teaching and Learning

A new report from the Center for American Progress suggests that American students would be better served if teachers were allowed more time to collaborate with colleagues, plan lessons, and review the effects of instruction. Education reform efforts in the United States have resulted in notable increases in the average length of the school day and the school year, expanding total instructional time for students. This means that teachers spend about 27 hours per week in face-to-face time teaching. Disappointingly, these efforts have not increased student achievement scores. An unintended consequence has been that American teachers typically spend significantly less time planning lessons than peers in nations such as Singapore and Finland, which are achieving better results. This report examines scheduling options that increase educator time to plan lessons. Examples of school schedules from across the United States are offered as a resource for schools systems looking to improve performance in this critical area of instruction.

Benner, M., & Partelow, L. (2017). Reimagining the School Day: Innovative Schedules for Teaching and Learning. Washington, DC: Center for American Progress.

https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/education/reports/2017/02/23/426723/reimagining-the-school-day/

 


 

20% of High School Students Passed an AP Exam in 2016

February 23, 2017

1 in 5 Public School Students in the Class of 2016 Passed an AP Exam

The number of students taking Advanced Placement (AP) tests has grown to more than 2.5 million students annually. Overall test scores have remained relatively constant despite a 60% increase in the number of students taking AP exams since 2006. In school year 2015–16, 20% of students taking an AP test passed and were eligible for college credit. The College Board also reports a continuing trend in the significant increase in the number of low-income students participating in the program. Unfortunately, this trend may be negatively impacted by changes in funding. The federal grant program subsidizing AP tests for low-income students has been replaced by block grants in the Every Student Succeeds Act. These funds may still be applied to subsidize low-income populations but are not mandated for this purpose as in the past.

Zubrzycki, J. (2017). 1 in 5 Public School Students in the Class of 2016 Passed an AP Exam. Education Week.

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2017/02/ap_results_release_2017.html?cmp=eml-enl-eu-news2

College Board Advance Placement Data: https://research.collegeboard.org/programs/ap/data/participation/ap-2016