Down and Dirty Data Analysis

Green is good.  Red is bad.

Here’s what they taught me in “coaching college” about how to read data.

Reading vertically indicates the teacher’s problem.  Reading horizontally indicates a student’s problem.

So, Harpo needs some additional help in all language arts areas.  However, in the vocabulary category, it appears that the teacher needs to examine his/her own instruction as its not succeeding for most of the students.  There’s all kinds of reasons why the teacher could say the students aren’t succeeding and there is validity to all of them…no help at home, trouble learning the language, poorly designed tests, a bad day in class.  This class in particular I hear is a bunch of class clowns.  However, the fact remains that the teacher’s vocabulary instruction with this group of students is not working and if he/she wants better results he/she must try something different.

7 Responses to “Down and Dirty Data Analysis”

  1. Jim Says:

    Awesome! I’m going to color code my Excel Docs immediately and see where I need to focus. Thanks!

  2. Tony Says:

    Nice “at a glance” tool…but I would suggest using two different symbols rather than colors. (Check marks and circles, perhaps?) A significant portion of the population is red-green colorblind and would see nothing but gray.

  3. Mathew Says:

    Good point about color blindness. Red and green are the colors used by LAUSD and Oakland and so I used them in my example here.

    Just to be clear, I’m not suggesting any particular tool, just a way of looking at data.

  4. Kelly Says:

    I think the color coding is a GREAT idea! I always prefer colors over symbols because colors jump out at you faster and easier than symbols.

  5. Tony Says:

    The problem, Kelly, is that colors don’t jump out *at all* for some people – all they see is gray. Others may see muted colors making it difficult to distinguish between the colors used. You can combine using colors and symbols, though, so that nobody is left out. Use a green check mark for “yes” and a red X for “no”, for example. That will jump out at you faster than color along, and nobody will be left out, unable to use your chart.

  6. Kelly Says:

    That is a very good point. Thank you for bringing that to my attention!

  7. Math Teachers at Play #24 « Let's Play Math! Says:

    […] How can you tell whether a problem is due to a student’s personal issues or to the teacher’s faulty instruction? Mathew offers advice for Down and Dirty Data Analysis. […]

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