Data Dashboards - Driving Miss Daisy and Her Data

Data dashboards often source information in our SIS and/or LMS systems which may include formative information/data. Much like our car dashboards, data dashboards provide the opportunity for actionable and real time information to inform them of a student's actual needs.  Through a data dashboard, share examples of how technology can assist in providing teachers the information they "know they need?"



Great article, thanks for

Great article, thanks for sharing Ann.

Cassie Patt

John Reiels

Great Article-What's on your dashboard?

Thanks for sharing this article.  I think it makes a case for what the need is from a teacher's standpoint-useful data from which teachers can easily and quickly derive purpose and direction for instruction.  Our state (Wisconsin) is launching a new data warehouse/dashboard program this year that will ultimately tie in with our statewide student information system (currently in the RFP stage, not yet selected or piloted).  The new program is called WISEdash.  The initial deployment will use data from a few separate systems into which we currently feed data. Ultimately, it will pull data in real time, from the statewide SIS so our data will be more complete and timely.  There will be an interface for classroom teachers, administrators, other school personnel, and general community members (including parents and students) when it is fully implemented.  The short term goal is to develop the dashboard for classroom teachers and administrators.  I hope to help contribute to developing/fine tuning a dashboard that provides a very real and tangible benefit for the classroom teacher.  Some of the characteristics mentioned in the article will be useful. 

In light of our work on the CTG project, I have requested that our school be a part of the WISEDash pilot project.  I hope to have more information on this in the coming months.

As the article states, "If teachers are expected to dive deeply into data and to understand it, then they should at least be able to take away what’s important and discard what’s irrelevant. What’s left is knowledge they can use to drive their instruction."  Hopefully the dashboard will highlight the areas of need so we can pinpoint our instructional efforts.

John Reiels


Related Ramblings...Would you ever drive home without looking at the dashboard or your surroundings?

For the past several years I have used the dashboard/driving analogy for data and the use of pre-assessment and formative assessment information to drive instruction.  We drive home on the same roads each day, but we never do it without looking at our surroundings, traffic, stop lights, dashboard guages, weather and so on because the nuances of the drive home are different each day.  We need to learn to teach each group of students with the same consideration of their nuances. When we teach students the same exact way each year (or semester, or period) without regard to the needs of the current group of students by way of pre-assessment and formative assessment, it's analogous to driving home with blinders on "because I have always done it this way."  The destination (learning goals) may be the same each trip (school year), but we have to pay attention to all the indicators along the way or we may not get everyone to their destination (achievement).  We need a dashboard that's easy for teachers to glance at while keeping their class moving forward on the road to success.


Driving with Blinders

The analogy is a meaningful one John.  Dashboards that are synched with the actual questions teachers need answers to (with a foundation of evidence-based research, e.g., role of feedback) will assist in removing what is often called a "cognitive load" for teachers.  Meaning - their need to try to interpret what the data is telling them and how that influences their upcoming work with students. 

What are the types of information/data that would provide teachers with the answers to questions such as "I have reviewed the data, now what do I do next?"

Sally Roth

Data Dash"bored"

Ann and others, your reponses are terrific.  What I observe, as well, is that some teachers are data dash-"bored", meaning that it takes sufficient time to examine, analyze and decipher so much data--and some of our teachers are so overwhelmed that they shut down when faced with mountains of data they must sort through in a hurry--they seem turned off rather than excited by the information they might find in that pile of scores, etc. so I heartily agree that in addition to longitudinal data, they need "in time" easy-to-understand displays of essential data.  I am equally concerned, though, that to many a review of data seems a confrontation rather than an assist.  Maybe some are losing touch with their own instincts about their students because they are so swamped with tons of data.  The need to see that data can be used to reinforce or "prove," right or wrong, what they are observing about achievement problems by working closely with children.  More importantly, teachers can turn to best practices, sound research about instructional methods, and their own best judgement based on experience (which must not be discounted) to design the next best steps to take in the classroom.