Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cube Shortcuts - Start with a Cube View

Not all users feel comfortable working in the EDW cubes, as they are quite a bit more complicated than accessing the pre-defined reports. If you're in this camp (and even if you're in the cube expert camp) you can access Cube Views to help you get started. A cube view has already been manipulated and saved to present the data in a particular way. DESE has developed several cube views, including:
  • MCAS CPI Trends by Grade Level
  • MCAS Demographic Trends
  • MCAS Performance by Grade Level
  • MCAS Performance by Year
  • MCAS School/District CPI vs State CPI by Grade
  • MCAS Special Education Performance Gap Trends
These can serve as excellent starting points for your inquiry. To work with them, simply navigate to the folder Public Folders > ESE Cubes > Cube Views and click the cube view that you'd like to investigate. Use the Dimension Line at the top of the screen to "filter" the data by choosing the desired district or school, subject area, subgroup, etc.

If you have changed the view and would like to save it, you can click the Save As icon in the lower right corner and save it to your My Folders area or your District Folder. (Don't worry, you can't accidentally overwrite the public cube views.) This is similar to saving Report Views. If you'd like to convert the cube view to PDF for printing, click the File button in the toolbar at the bottom of the screen (looks like a page) and choose Export PDF.

For more information on cubes, please see Chapter 3 of the EDW User's Guide.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

2010 MCAS Cube Available!

For the cube enthusiasts out there, the 2010 MCAS results are now available! A “cube” in the EDW is an analysis tool that allows the user to “slice and dice” the data in many different ways. Cubes can be trickier to manipulate than the reports, but they can be useful, for example, to: 

  • analyze trend data by strand, question type, or subgroup,
  • combine subgroups, grade levels, schools,
  • create calculations, e.g. %Proficient/Advanced, or
  • view data simultaneously for multiple schools within a district.
When working with the cubes, it is recommended that you use Internet Explorer.  If you use Mozilla Firefox, you will not have all the functionality available to you. Internet Explorer allows you to drag and drop, but with Firefox, you will need to right click on the object and select the action you wish to perform from the dropdown menu that appears.

Once you have logged into the EDW, go to Public Folders > ESE Cubes. Click on the most recent cube release (e.g. MCAS Official Release 2010) to open the cube view. There are two important features of a cube: dimensions and measures. Dimensions are all the groupings by which you can view the results, e.g. by grade, school, subgroup, year, question type, etc. Measures are the actual quantitative results, e.g. percent correct, CPI, number of tests administered, etc. At this point, only MCAS data are available in a cube.  Unfortunately growth data (median SGPs) are not available, because median values cannot be rolled up - they must always be calculated from the detail for the group selected.

For more information on working in the cubes, see the MA DESE EDW User Guide chapter 3.  Remember, you can save "cube views" in My Folders or in your district folder, so you don't need to start from scratch each time. Please let us know if you need assistance!