Monday, June 27, 2011

MCAS 2011 - Preliminary Results Now Available

Preliminary 2011 MCAS and MCAS-Alt results are now available in the MCAS drop boxes and in the EDW. Preliminary data are embargoed and may not be publicly released.

The MCAS drop boxes can now be accessed directly from the EDW, and all EDW users have been granted the security access. You can find the link by going to Public Folders -> ESE MCAS Reports and clicking on "Pre-Run Reports and Data Files". This leads to student roster reports (school level), test item analysis reports (school and district level), and performance summary reports (school and district level).

In addition, the following EDW reports with preliminary 2011 data are available:
  • Preliminary district reports: R-301, R-302, R-306
  • Preliminary school reports: R-401, R-402, R-406
  • Preliminary student reports: R-606, R-610, R-613, R-616, R-617
  • Preliminary growth reports for ELA only: G-601, G-602

You can access these reports through a new, more user-friendly, interface by going to Public Folders -> ESE MCAS Reports and clicking on “ESE MCAS – 2011 Preliminary Report View”. You will see a list of available reports. The three icons to the left of the report name are hyperlinks to run the report as HTML, PDF, or to schedule a report to run in the background, in that order. If you roll over the report name, a “sample” image appears to help you identify the report you want to run.

Please refer to the message on the EDW Welcome screen (after logging in) for additional information about current and future improvements to the EDW, including the PowerPoint presentation and Q&A from the recent Webex presentations.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

DART Updates

The folks at DESE have recently released updates to the District Analysis and Review Tools (DART), located here: To access the latest updates, be sure to download the new files to your local computer. A comprehensive list of updates is available on the website, but here are a few highlights to pique your interest:
  • Curriculum: Included new indicator: Percentage of Test-Takers Scoring 3 or Above on the Advanced Placement U.S. History Exam 
  • Leadership and Governance: Added 2011 data to Turnover indicators and Student-to-Arts Teacher Ratio
  • Student Support: Included new indicator: Average Teacher Salaries
In addition, DESE soon will release the DART Detail: English Language Learners, which will allow users to make comparisons across districts in enrollment, English language proficiency, achievement, and other data specific to this special population. DART: Detail tools provide in-depth data on targeted topic areas. The DART Detail: Finance and Staffing is the first of this series and allows users to compare districts' 2008-2010 finance and staffing trends. 

See my previous post regarding DART tools for more information on what they are and how they can be used. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

CD Status Student Data Available

DESE has released updated Competency Determination (CD) attainment status student data files through the MCAS 2011 Data dropbox in the Department’s Security Portal. The CD status data reflect the following:
  • MCAS results through the March 2011 retests in English Language Arts and Mathematics
  • MCAS Performance Appeals through May 17, 2011
  • MCAS-Alt results through the spring 2010 tests
  • MCAS-Alt Portfolio Appeals through May 12, 2011
For additional details, please see the 6/10/11 Commissioner's Memo.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

EDW Performance Improvements

The Data Warehouse Team at ESE sent out the following message and also posted it on the Welcome page within the EDW. Rather than attempt to summarize, here is the message in its entirety: 

“ We are taking steps to mitigate performance issues during the pre-release in June while we work on longer-term improvements for August and later.
These steps will provide some improvement in performance and will help prevent some of the very long-running reports from blocking other users, and they include:
  1. Separating the database that holds information about the reports from the database that holds the student data.
  2. Setting up a separate database to run long-running reports.
  3. Add a new direct link to pre-run reports stored in district dropboxes from the data warehouse web pages. Performance of these reports should be very good and will reduce load on the EDW.
  4. Adding summary tables and other techniques to improve performance of some EDW reports.
The pre-run reports will be:
  • Pre-burst District Reports
    • Items Analysis
    • Performance, CPI and SGP by Subgroup
    • Data files (.csv, .xls)
  • Pre-burst School reports
    • Student Roster
    • Items Analysis
    • Performance, CPI and SGP by Subgroup
    • Data files (.csv, .xls)
    • MCAS-Alt Portfolio
All EDW school and district users will be able to access pre-run PDF reports in the MCAS drop boxes. District Users (209, 210) will be able to access district pre-run reports, and School Users (211) will be able to access school-level pre-run reports in the appropriate MCAS drop boxes.

In August, we are planning to launch new versions of the key MCAS data warehouse reports that are completely redesigned from the ground up for better performance. These MCAS reports will run in a new area separate from the existing (legacy) data warehouse, as they are designed differently on top of a new database. We are hoping to make these reports available by the release of the preliminary data in August. The legacy data warehouse will still be running in parallel with familiar MCAS reports, and it will also continue to provide other reports the customers use (SIMS, EPIMS, and reports districts have built for themselves) until they can be incorporated into the new area.

We are also working on replacing the main EDW database server with a new appliance with enhanced capacity. We will be finalizing the timeline for this in the coming weeks."