Online College Courses for Credit

Navigating Data

Navigating Data

Author: Angie Buys

By the end of this tutorial, School Board members will understand how to access, navigate, and ask good questions of their district data as shown through their creation of a list of data-based questions

School Board members will access a Prezi, listen to a lecture on data systems and data systems navigation while using resources to navigate the MI School Data web site. They will follow a template for analyzing data that will help them create good questions about their district data.

See More
Fast, Free College Credit

Developing Effective Teams

Let's Ride
*No strings attached. This college course is 100% free and is worth 1 semester credit.

29 Sophia partners guarantee credit transfer.

314 Institutions have accepted or given pre-approval for credit transfer.

* The American Council on Education's College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE Credit®) has evaluated and recommended college credit for 27 of Sophia’s online courses. Many different colleges and universities consider ACE CREDIT recommendations in determining the applicability to their course and degree programs.


Introduction to Navigating Data

Brief overview of the presentation.

Prezi: Navigating Data - 10,000 foot view

Data Systems Explanation

This is an explanation of how the data systems work together to support the analysis of multiple data sources.

Data Systems supported by MOISD

These are the data systems used by our districts and supported by MOISD. It is a chart of how data flows in and among the different systems.

Skyward is the Student Information System used at the district level. All of the demographics, attendance information, classroom grades, discipline reports and more are attached to students through a student number and/or UIC code.

That information is sent in a limited format, depending on the needs of the entities, to Michigan Department of Education (MDE), Learning Station, and Inform.

MDE uses student information to attach to state testing data which gets fed into the public data warehouse, MI School Data. The public can access data information down to the school level without having to log into the system. This is an accountability system for the state's education system.

MI School Data has many available reports and reporting features, but it only holds state level assessment information. In order to allow school improvement teams, administrators and teachers to do more in depth data analysis, they need the ability to look at multiple data sources and to drill down, sometimes to the item analysis level. For that functionality, MOISD supports a district data warehouse. Because of a regional data initiative grant, all six of the districts MOISD supports use Pearson Inform as their data warehouse. This warehouse houses state level assessment data, just like MI School Data, but also any outside vendor assessments given at the district or school level, like DIBELS for reading assessment, STAR for math and reading assessment, etc. These are files that are housed by the outside vendors, but MOISD sets up an import process so the data can be compared and analyzed all in one place. The warehouse also imports any assessments that are administered through our assessment creation tool at a district level.

Learning Station's Insight is our MOISD supported test creation tool. This is where our district assessment is created, stored, administered, scored and reported to the data warehouse. Teachers can create classroom level assessments with this tool as well, to administer pre and post test and/or summative assessments for their subject area, that are aligned to their content area standards. Classroom level assessment data does not get transferred to the data warehouse, but it can be analyzed with the reporting tools that are built in and accessible through the test creation tool.


Assumptions and Predictions

This step gets participants thinking about data before exploring the data so they have a better understanding of their personal beliefs about education and what affects student performance.

What Affects the Data?

In School improvement, when we think about where the data that we are looking at and making decisions about comes from, we realize that we are looking at Student Performance. In most cases, we are trying to increase student performance by analyzing past student performance, making decisions based on our analysis, implementing those changes, and analyzing data again to see what effect the changes have made in student performance. All of that analysis and decision making is based on a set of data that has many outside influences affecting it. At the cent of the data is a student. That student is affected by the items in Maslow's Hierarchy of needs, they are influenced by home life, school environment, themselves, as well as their interaction with instructional practices, curriculum alignment and assessment alignment. Some items that affect the student's performance, and, in turn, the data set, are not in the control of the school personnel. Administrative Teams can help the general staff to distinguish what amongst all of the outside influences, school can take ownership of and impact in a positive manner. The District/ School improvement teams' focus needs to be on those items that affect the data that fall solidly under our professional control, that when implemented consistently, with fidelity and monitoring district and school wide have a significant impact on student performance; the instructional practices, curriculum alignment, and assessment alignment


5th Grade MEAP Math Predictions

Use these charts to predict what you think the data will show when you look at your district's 5th grade MEAP math scores and compare the score distribution of females and males. The bars equal 100% total in each bar, so you are predicting what percentage of students falls into each of the four levels described. The next chart is trend data, so you are predicting what % of females and males were proficient for each of the given years so you can see their trending scores.


Template for Advocacy: Making Thinking and Reasoning Visible

As you explore MI School Data, use this template to formulate good questions based on the data you find.

Template for Advocacy: Making Thinking and Reasoning Visible

Source: Adapted from Senge, Kleiner, Roberts, & Ross, 1994.

Navigating MI School Data

This video, along with the step-by-step written guide, will help viewers learn to navigate and use the basic functions on the MI School Data site.

Data Mining in MI School Data

Go to

Use these step by step instructions as you navigate the site.


Exploring and Discovering

The four questions you will find on page 14 of this presentation handout (Link) will help you think critically about the data you view on the MI School Data site.

Source: Bruce Wellman & Laura Lipton, MiraVia LLC