Visualizing data is a powerful tool for examining patterns, investigating changes over time, or exploring differences by groups of interest. Patterns, trends and abnormalities that might go undetected in a text-based format (spreadsheet) can be seen more easily with data visualization software. And the ability to drill down to lower levels of detail, selectively – based on the user’s desires – provides a level of transparency that is real, and meaningful.
Gibson can do this for you.
In simple terms, data visualization is the presentation of data in a pictorial or graphic format. These visualizations can help decision-makers explore information in ways that quickly highlight important patterns, outliers, or commonalities.
The data visualization tool puts the power of analysis into the users’ hands. Data and performance measures can be analyzed in various ways, including trend, peer or benchmark analysis. This can be achieved for student, financial, staffing and operational data.
Several benefits can be attained from developing a data visualization tool:
Better Communication A data dashboard serves as a highly efficient and effective form of communication for the district, because it promotes a common base of information and language for educators and stakeholders to use. Additionally, it collects and presents information that stakeholders might have difficulty finding or connecting otherwise.
Better Accountability and Transparency Through data visualization tools, users can more easily find meaning and relevance in the “sea” of data, and thus meet the growing demand for accountability and transparency in education.
Demonstrate Efficiency and Effectiveness Data visualization allows for comparison across multiple datasets. This allows the school district to compare its data to standards and peer data, thus demonstrating the district’s efficiency and effectiveness. Additionally, these tools can help the school systems further develop a conceptual framework for data-informed leadership, than in turn can promote greater efficiency and effectiveness within the school district.
Our team has used data visualizations across various types of projects to help clients:
- better understand how their schools are performing
- how districts are spending money
- how space is being utilized
- how staff, students, and parents feel about important school issues
- and more
Jeffco Public Schools (Colorado)
Employee Satisfaction Survey and Data Visualization Tool
For Jefferson County Public Schools (JEFFCO) – the largest school district in Colorado – Gibson performed cross-sectional and longitudinal data analysis on the school system’s employee satisfaction survey data. We analyzed 10 years of employee data to examine differences between employee groups and trends over time for different areas of satisfaction – including constructs such as employee effectiveness, district diversity, supervision, compensation, and benefits.
In addition to providing JEFFCO with targeted recommendations to improve employee satisfaction in key areas, we developed an interactive data visualization tool for JEFFCO that enabled leadership to view survey results at the construct level or item level, and to slice mean scores by any of the demographic characteristics available for analysis.
Manor Independent School District
Budget Analysis Tool
Manor Independent School District hired Gibson to assist the district in analyzing its 2015-16 budget. Gibson helped the board to better understand Manor Independent School District’s expenditure and staffing levels and to better answer specific questions about budget line items by developing a budget analysis and data visualization tool.
In collaboration with the board, Gibson collected and validated the district’s expenditures and staffing data. Working with the board and senior leadership, we designed and developed a visualization tool that allowed users to analyze expenditure data in the aggregate and on a per student basis. The tool also allowed users to drill down according to every element of the district’s account code structure, including locally assigned codes.
School District of Lee County
Community Survey and Data Visualization Tool
Gibson worked with the School District of Lee County on a large-scale community survey, as well as a survey of secondary school students, assessing attitudes and opinions about student assignment approaches, the district’s programs and services quality, expanded program preferences, and parent involvement issues.
As a part of that project, Gibson developed an interactive data visualization tool that graphically presented results from the survey, allowing in-depth examination of survey responses based on any demographic characteristic of interest (e.g., ethnicity, gender, and income). With the click of a button users can choose to display survey results by respondent demographics to examine results that interest them.
Texas Association of School Business Officials
For the Texas Association of School Business Officials, Gibson upgraded a comprehensive statewide student, financial, staffing, and demographic database – called the Financial Analysis and Comparison of Texas Schools (FACTS) – to include data visualization tools accessed through the Internet. This upgraded business intelligence tool – eFACTS+ – provided multi-dimensional online analytical processing functionality in a fully accessible web-based environment, which helped school systems’ analysts easily analyze performance trends via a researcher friendly interface fit for the casual and power user.
In the years following the upgrade, Gibson provided further eFACTS+ enhancements as well as training.