School data tutorials

[cross-posted at LeaderTalk]

Even when principals and teachers have access to data, they often aren’t sure what to do with it. That’s why CASTLE (okay, it was me!) created School Data Tutorials, a web site intended to help K-12 educators work with raw student and school data.

The tutorials on the web site highlight many of the Excel skills that are helpful when working with building- and district-level data. The tutorials are targeted at data managers, principals, guidance counselors, teachers, and other school personnel who have the responsibility for collecting, analyzing, and reporting K-12 performance data (which is just about everyone these days!). You will see that the tutorials are much like the ones created by Atomic Learning (they trained us!) but are focused on data-driven decision-making needs of educators rather than being generic.

Below are the four sets of tutorials we recommend for every teacher and administrator. If every educator knew how to do these four things, schools’ capacity to do some basic monitoring of student progress would be greatly enhanced. They take just over half an hour to watch once, and of course they can be viewed as many times as necessary to accomplish mastery.

Many more tutorials are available on the site, including instructions on how to make your own data collection templates. Let me know if you feel empowered after watching these!

Freeze panes



Conditional formatting

Note that you may need to turn off your browser’s pop-up blocker or install the latest Flash plug-in to view these tutorials. Happy viewing!

4 Responses to “School data tutorials”

  1. Wow, Scott, thanks! I’ve used Excel (or Lotus) for 20 years, but I’ve never dabbled with conditional formatting. That’s a powerful tool, and I certainly look forward to using it (where appropriate of course) next time!

  2. WOW! I was just thinking of doing a quick tutorial like this at our next staff meeting. Now I pick one of these to show, and refer folks to the rest here. Fantastic!

  3. May the sun always shine on your garden. May your children’s children bless you. May your enemies grovel at your feet. Thanks for such practical tips. Having used Excel for many years I’m ashamed to admit that I just learned about filters from my wife this week and now you’ve showed me how to freeze frames and color code data. And to think of all the hours I spent darting back and forth from the top of a file to the bottom to remember what was at the heading column. I’m caught somewhere between total disgust with my Neanderthal methods and elation at all the damage I can now do with our school data. My teachers probably won’t thank you as exuberantly as I.


  4. Have you posted information on your video-making process? I make similar videos intended for internal use and would be interested to know how you do it, how much time it takes, etc.

    Depending on the topic and length of the video, I’ll spend maybe an hour writing out a script (taking into account local policy in addition to the procedure). I record the video in one take with Windows Media Encoder (free and not an issue (yet) since all our computers are Windows PCs), but it usually takes me a few takes to make it all the way through without jumbling words. The videos themselves range from about 2:45 (1.4 MB) to around 4:23 (1.9 MB). When I post the video, I post the script as well. I’m not currently posting screen shots with the script (that is, the posted script is all text).

    Are you posting transcripts or text versions or any other alternative? Beyond being accessibility-conscious in the personal ability sense, I don’t want anyone to have the excuse that the video wouldn’t play on their computer. 🙂

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