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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

 


 

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

 


 

Impact of Virtual Charter Schools

February 16, 2017

A study released on February 16, 2017, finds that online charter schools perform worse than traditional public or brick and mortar charter schools. The study by New York University and RAND Corporation (Ahn & McEachin, 2016) concludes that Ohio students who are enrolled in virtual charter schools spend significantly less time engaged in instruction and are less likely to pass the Ohio Graduation Test. A second study from Mathematica Policy Research (Gill et al., 2015) reports that online charter students experience weaker overall academic growth than comparable traditional public and charter school students. These findings, along with those of a study from Johns Hopkins University (Balfanz et al., 2014) suggesting that virtual charter school graduation rates are worse than those of traditional public and charter schools, strongly support a closer examination of the model and indicate a need for caution regarding online charter schools.

Ahn, J, and McEachin, A. (2017). Student enrollment patterns and achievement in Ohio’s online charter schools. Education Researcher, Vol. XX No. X, pp. 1–14.

http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.3102/0013189X17692999

Gill, B., Walsh, L., Wulsin, C. S., Matulewicz, H., Severn, V., Grau, E., … & Kerwin, T. (2015). Inside online charter schools. Cambridge, MA: Mathematica Policy Research.

https://www.mathematica-mpr.com/~/media/publications/pdfs/education/inside_online_charter_schools.pdf

Balfanz, R., Bridgeland, J. M., Fox, J. H., DePaoli, J. L., Ingram, E. S., & Maushard, M. (2014). Building a grad nation: Progress and challenge in ending the high school dropout epidemic. Annual Update 2014. Baltimore, MD: Everyone Graduates Center, School of Education, Johns Hopkins University

http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED556758.pdf

 


 

Impact of North Carolina’s Early Childhood Programs and Policies on Educational Outcomes in Elementary School

November 17, 2016

A recent study, attempts to answer this question by examining the effects of two North Carolina early-childhood programs on students’ educational outcomes in elementary school. This study looked at the impact of state funding allocations to programs in each of 100 counties across 13 consecutive years in South Carolina. These findings indicate that North Carolina’s investment in early childhood programs is associated with improved educational outcomes for students in terms of math and reading scores, reductions in special education rates, and diminished incidence of grade retention. Importantly, these effects don’t appear to fade during the elementary grades.

Dodge, K. A., Bai, Y., Ladd, H. F., & Muschkin, C. G. (2016). Impact of North Carolina’s Early Childhood Programs and Policies on Educational Outcomes in Elementary School. Child Development.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cdev.12645/full

 


 

Understanding Scientific Research

October 30, 2015

The Big Picture Science radio show and podcast explains the complexities of science with informative and entertaining story telling and interviews. This podcast offers listeners the basic information for discerning good from bad research and explains why we often encounter conflicting results of studies on the same topic. Read More…

 


 

Students, Computers, and Learning

October 27, 2015

A study released in September by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) examines the impact of digital learning environments and student skills. Read More…