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    We needed to thoroughly understand the format and context in which end-of-year exam data was made available to principals and how they processed … Read More
    We needed to thoroughly understand the format and context in which end-of-year exam data was made available to principals and how they processed and interpreted this data. My approach to understanding this problem was to conduct a series of contextual inquiries and interviews with principals at school sites. Notably, several of the principals constructed what they termed "data walls". Read Less
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Education Elements was pursuing a new line of potential product functionality surrounding principal and administrator's use of End-Of-Year and Benchmark exam data. We needed to thoroughly understand the format and context in which this data was made available to principals and how they processed and interpreted this data. My approach to understanding this problem space was to do a series of contextual inquiries and interviews with principals at school sites. Notably, several of the principals constructed what they termed "data walls".
Data Wall Example 1: Groupings represent classrooms and the cards are in order of last benchmark performance score.
Example of a student card place on the data wall. Color indicates performance on last-year's end-of-year exam. Stickers/Dots indicate performance on latest benchmark exam.
Data Wall Example 2
On the X axis - Math performance
On the Y axis - ELA Performance
Grid: on each axis there is "Far Below Basic", "Below Basic", "Basic", "Proficient", "Advanced" 
Grid colors - determined by proficiency band in the two subjects
- Pink square - Far Below Basic and Below Basic in both ELA and Math, 
- Red - Far Below basic or Below Basic in EITHER Math or ELA (not both…XOR), 
- Yellow - Basic in Math or ELA (but not below basic in either), 
- Green - Advanced or Proficient in Math and ELA. 
 
Student Post-it:
Colors of post-it indicates the student's score on end-of-year exam from the previous year. Each Benchmark score is written on the post-it as (###, ###) where the 'x' is their Math score and 'y' is their ELA score.
Data Wall Story Telling
With the assistance of the data wall, principals are able to tell students about individual students and their progress throughout the year.
 
Story 1: For example, on principal told a "back track" story: There were four particular students who excelled in 2nd grade, but when they were placed into 3rd grade the 3rd grade teacher became ill and took extended leave the students "back tracked" in terms of performance on exams.  For these students the principal believed that it was especially important for them to have consistency in terms of who they interact with every day and the mode in which they are taught.
 
Story 2: In another case, the principal was able to tell a "success story".  There was one student that had a lot of trouble learning English (ELL) and that really held her back in all of her benchmark exams in the past. However, in the current year her English proficiency improved due to an increased focus on English skills. The principal felt she "just needed more time and attention". He reflected that they were seeing a similar phenomenon with the student's sister.