How to Become a Data Scientist: Easy Ways to Correlate and Analyze Multiple Indicators to Improve Student PerformancePosted on Jan 5, 2018 11:00:00 AM
Are you ready to add "data science" to your skill set? It's the hot new phrase that speaks to our growing need to correlate and analyze data to find ways to make decisions which improve student performance.
Sounds a bit overwhelming right? The good news is with the right tools, anyone can generate powerful data analytics and reports in easy-to-use and understand formats that can be used to make informed decisions. You just need to know where to begin.
Data is everywhere
The average school district knows a lot about every student they enroll. The problem is all that data is stored in many different places and managed by multiple departments. Getting a true picture of what’s happening with an individual or group of students is like putting together a puzzle, except first you have to figure out where all the pieces are hidden.
At the same time, most school districts do not have a dedicated person or team to analyze data. It’s likely no one function has the domain expertise to understand how to pull the data in the right format and analyze it.
School districts that do have resources to look at data and calculate progress toward meeting certain thresholds mostly use Microsoft Excel and simply roll up information to a district or school building level. They’re producing important quantitative summaries, but not actionable data that can be used by a principal, teacher or guidance counselor because they don’t have an easy way to drill down to an individual student and see what’s going on with him or her.
New approach, actionable results
The first step to becoming a data scientist is breaking down the bottleneck that prevents your school district from finding meaning in its data.
That’s where Forecast5's 5Lab™comes into play. Every good scientist needs a lab where he or she has a controlled place and the tools necessary to review and analyze data. 5Lab is an analytics platform that pulls data in the right format as needed from disparate student information systems into one sandbox.
You no longer need to go through complicated steps to extract data from several sources and populate complex spreadsheets. 5Lab can pull data as needed so you can update analytics on a regular basis.
You are now just a few mouse clicks away from putting your new data science skills to work to uncover actionable data that administrators, teachers and guidance counselors can use to make informed decisions about student performance at a district, building, student subgroup or individual student level.
You run the lab
Every school district is different and looks at distinctive metrics to assess progress. 5Lab is easy to customize to add or subtract data from an analysis to answer your specific questions. Standard measurements can be set-up to run each month. It’s also easy to create custom reports to answer specific questions.
Whether you’re trying to show compliance with a complex Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) standard, assess year-to-year progress on standard metrics or respond to a question from a board member, you now have what it takes to provide answers backed by solid evidence. That’s the ultimate goal for any scientist.
Jason Schoenleber is a Product Manager with Forecast5 Analytics in Naperville. Prior to working at Forecast5, Jason worked for 3 years as a Solutions Consultant for Enfos Inc., advising corporate remediation directors on managing their financial debt obligation data through a SaaS platform and template modeling. He received his Bachelors in Marketing from the University of South Dakota, and is currently pursuing his Masters in Business Administration from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.