So all this got me thinking about data visualization in the education sector and political arenas. Making all that data available and visually appealing while holding on to accuracy is a challenge – particularly in the digital space where agate type resolution is iffy at best and EVERYTHING is footnoted. Enter politics and the reform candidacy of Ross Perot and his infamous pie charts – such simple and clear data visualization tool quickly embraced by the USA Today’s of the reporting sector. But are they accurate? Do they give us a down and dirty quick take on trend lines – or do they etch themselves onto our retinas and define the essence of what is important?
The concept is simply this: that by identifying those students who, year after year, show up to school already at or above grade level – students who would ordinarily be doomed to relearning what they already know – we can provide them with suitable interventions so that they can actually learn something. Holding schools accountable for adding value – or teaching a year’s worth of material – can demonstrate the shortcomings of limited differentiation and encourage teachers and schools to identify and serve high ability students – rather than allowing them to languish and, in some cases, tune out to learning completely.