Thursday, October 21, 2010

EDW 2-Page Overview

Some people enjoy reading all there is to know about a topic. Then there are others who prefer the cliff-notes. For this second group, I developed this EDW 2-Page Overview. It has all the basic functionality you need in, well, just two pages. Print it, hang it above your desk, tape it to your laptop, fold it up real small to go in your wallet, wherever you might need it. Of course, if you want more details, you can always go to the official DESE EDW User Guide.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Scheduling Reports

Are you growing weary of watching the hour glass spin? One of the most useful things you can learn in the EDW is how to schedule reports. This means setting up reports to run in the background, or to run later at a specified time. This is particularly helpful if you have a set of reports you want to run and save as report views. It is vital if you want to run student-level reports, especially those that have one student on each page (R-602, R-606, R-610, R-613). As a general rule-of-thumb, the reports with one student per page will take about 30 seconds PER STUDENT. So if you want to run a set for a classroom with 24 students, that’s 12 minutes…not good. In fact, the DESE recommends that these reports should either be run for groups of students fewer than 10, or scheduled to run overnight. Even when running overnight, it is strongly recommended that you set it up for no more than 100 students at a time. Information on how to schedule reports can be found in the DESE EDW User Guide or in this 2-page handout that I adapted from the User Guide. (The steps are the same, it’s just the formatting and size of document that’s different.) Wouldn’t it be nice if all of our work could be set up to complete overnight while we sleep? 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Data data everywhere….but where exactly?

As district and school staff, you have a wealth of data available, but it’s not always easy to figure out where to go to get what you need. In some cases, the same information is available in multiple locations, though not always in the same format. In this post, I'll focus on MCAS Student Rosters, which are available in two locations within the DESE Security Portal:

Drop Box Central -> MCAS 2010 Data – There is a PDF student roster for each grade/subject area combination in the school. The rosters include students who took the test with no SASID. Staff with the security role MCAS Drop Box at the school-level can access these reports. Staff with the role at the district-level will not be able to view these reports.

Education Data Warehouse – The benefits of the three EDW rosters include the ability to sort in several different ways, the option to create a group of students, and the ability to access data for your current students (if your district submits student claim files…more on student claiming in a future blog). Staff with the security role DW-211 School User or DW-210 District User can access these reports. On each of these, you can drill through to get more detailed information on each student included in the roster.

1. R-616 Test Item Analysis Roster – Available for a selected school, grade, and subject area. You can filter for a particular group of students by performance level or subgroup and can sort the roster by last name or scaled score. Results are available either by individual item or by question type. This roster is similar to the Dropbox roster, but does not include students who took the test without a SASID

2. R-617 Student MCAS Roster – Available for a selected grade. Filtering for a particular school is optional. Data displayed includes the test status, scaled score and performance level for each subject area.

3. G-602 Student Growth Roster – Available for a selected school and grade. The report includes the ELA and Math scaled scores for 2008, 2009, and 2001, as well as the SGP for 2010. You can sort by scaled score, SGP, or last name, and group the results by various subgroups. You can select the students included by pasting in a list of SASIDs on the prompt page.

Hope this helps!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Welcome to the Greater Boston Data Blog!

Welcome to the Greater Boston Data Blog! This is being brought to you by the Greater Boston District and School Assistance Center ("DSAC"). As a Data Specialist on the DSAC team, I will post information, updates, important dates and tips related to data-use and inquiry for school districts in the Greater Boston area.

If you'd like to receive blog posts via email (rather than trying to remember to check back here every now and then), please enter your email in the box on the right. I envision posting information once or twice a week. If there is something you'd like to see on the blog, please let me know. For example, you could share a share a successful inquiry or data-use practice, a challenge facing your district, or simply a question you have. The more we share, the better the resource will be for everyone! Please contact me at with any questions you may have. I am new to "blogging" so bear with me as I head up the learning curve!