Revisualizing Student Achievement Data

The following interactive graphic was created as a proposed redesign for the current School Quality Profiles (SQPs) from the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE). The primary goals of this redesign are three-fold: (a) Present the currently available information in a clear, easy-to-understand, and easy-to-navigate format; (b) Facilitate comparisons across groups of students, over time; and (c) Allow users to quickly focus on the information they feel is most relevant. This redesign is a small step in the broader task of improving the usability and utility of the SQPs for the VDOE, the public, and other stakeholders.

The current SQPs display a large bulk of their numeric information using either a standard bar chart format or tables, to include showing their student achievement data across contexts and over time. While no more flashy at its core, I proposed utilizing an interactive line graph format for its legibility, flexibility, and simplicity. First, line graphs are among the most common graphs out there, meaning that members the public will likely already be familiar and comfortable with reading them. Second, it facilitates valuable comparisons between datapoints by allowing the display of multiple lines/groups at once without drastically increasing visual complexity. Lastly, line graphs are a reliable tool to examine numeric trends over time; the below graph can easily be refitted to display most of the data on the SQPs, which puts all of that information in a common visual "language" for the viewer and decreases the number of new visualization or table formats they'd need to navigate.

The interactive elements further simplify the overall experience of navigating the SQPs. For example, creating a series of options to switch between student group (gender, race, socioeconomics, etc.), subject (reading, math, etc.), test (3rd Grade through EOC), and proficiency group (passing, failing, etc.) condenses several sets of graphs into one, putting thousands of datapoints at the fingertips of the user while remaining approachable and digestible.

The below example uses the Grade 8 Reading SOL scores from Thomas C. Boushall Middle School, part of the Richmond City Public Schools division; any missing/incomplete group data are due to sample size reporting constraints and are omitted accordingly. Note also that the data selection buttons (subject, test, proficiency) are inactive and serve only as a proof-of-concept. Any thoughts, feedback, or ideas are greatly appreciated at this stage! See contact info below to get in touch, and thanks for viewing.

Assessment Subject Test Category Proficiency Group

Visualization by Brian Heseung Kim. Twitter/GitHub/Web: @brhkim
This work is intended only as a proof-of-concept for interactive data visualizations. All opinions expressed are my own. Code heavily modified from work by DStruth here.