Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Analyzing Student Data in a Spreadsheet

My experience with spreadsheets in the last 10 years has been virtually nil. I wouldn't say the process of using Google Sheets was "painless" - there were definitely some growing pains - but it feels like once you learn how to use it, it's a fairly simple tool to use but one with potentially huge benefits.

As I worked on the spreadsheet data analysis, I thought of one of my mentor teachers as they sifted through test scores at school. One of my tasks at the school was to grade the tests and record them on a score sheet. I think the data could be more effectively analyzed if it were done on Google Sheets. It would be great to be able to isolate certain students or scores, for example. The visual aid of charts is also powerful. Also, that data could then be more easily (and more professionally) presented to parents, if you so desired. You could create a chart, with numbers rather than names, and show the parent where the student is in relation to classmates and even the entire school if there was a system of data sharing in place. Last but not least is the ability to use the data to modify your teaching to reach those students who need the extra help or differentiation in the lessons to reach their goals.

For this particular assignment, we looked at students who were falling below the average in their final 6 test scores. The trend shows an increase in test scores as they went from test 6 to test 10. I chose to make two charts, one line and one bar to represent the data. I feel the bar chart is more effective in showing the trends individually and as a group of students, but that could very well be a personal preference. As a teacher I would be pleased that most of the students are showing steady improvement and nearing or surpassing the average of 192 by the 10th test. However some students, such as but concerned with students such as Queen, Walter, and Renee are not yet close to the average and in the case of Queen regressing. This would indicate to me that those students were at risk and would require some kind of intervention.

Once again I think Google Sheets is a powerful tool once the initial shock of getting used to it wears off. A personal goal of mine is to start a small project for my mentor teacher using Sheets. For example I could enter the spelling test scores in Sheets and analyze the data. It would be a relatively simple and quick task that can provide the teacher another way to assess the students and her teaching.

Here is the direct link to the spreadsheets on Google Docs.

1 comment:

  1. 10 years is a long time to be away from spread sheets. I'm visualizing some of your re-learning curve parsing out the original data. Job really well done, right on through embedding the charts and analyzing the results.