Posts tagged sorting

Data Collection and Analysis

A major focus for schools is the collection and analysis of student data to guide instruction and intervention.  There are many software systems available for such analysis, but Microsoft Excel does a great job for collecting and interpreting data.  Its biggest limitation is its inability to serve as a practical database that multiple users can independently add to, modify, and access without emailing a single file back and forth.  For large scale analysis such as this, a proper database system is needed.  But for tracking data within a classroom (where there is most likely a single user accessing the file), Excel does a great job.  Here are some pointers:

Conditional Formatting is a feature within Excel that uses visual traits to help you to interpret data.  By specifying your requirements within the options menu, you can have the program (for example) color red the scores of students below a certain grade, highlight the top ten percent of a group, put a colored icon next to the students performing above or below grade level, etc.  The possibilities really are limitless.

  • Microsoft Office Online’s demonstration of how to use conditional formatting – This video clearly shows the process.  Note: The link works better on Windows computers than those running Mac OS X.  If you have trouble loading the video from their site, you can download it and watch it locally as a wmv format video.  (So if you’re a Mac user and lack the plug-in to watch the video online, either watch the video on a PC or get a friend to download the file and watch it on your computer using a video player such as VLC.  A frustrating process, I know.)
  • Home and Learn – This site walks you through some of the basics of conditional formatting in a supportive, conversational style.
  • How-to Geek – There’s not a lot of useful information on this site, but if you’re a visual learner, you’ll find lots of screenshots.
  • Contextures has some terrific examples of how to take conditional formatting even further to mask certain data when printing, highlight certain items in a list, and more.  Some of the site’s suggestions are now unnecessary due to the new features in Excel 2007 (and newer), such as creating colored shapes (which Excel now does for you with the icon options).

Sorting allows you to put the data in a particular order.  At its most basic level, you can sort by grade.  But you can also sort by age and then by grade.  Or by class and then by age and then by grade.  It’s easy and valuable!

Filtering lets you hide pieces of data so you can focus on only the data you want.  For example, if you have scores for all the students in your class, you can choose to look at the growth for only those students receiving intervention, only the boys, only those performing above expectations, etc.  Very simple and powerful!

Tracking Student Data with Microsoft Excel – December 10, 2010

Workshop Topics

  • Organizing and structuring data
  • Entering data efficiently
  • Basic data analyses (averages, changes over time, graphing, etc.)
  • Conditional formatting

Links

  • Microsoft Office Online’s demonstration of how to use conditional formatting – This video clearly shows the process.  Note: The link works better on Windows computers than those running Mac OS X.  If you have trouble loading the video from their site, you can download it and watch it locally as a wmv format video.  (So if you’re a Mac user and lack the plug-in to watch the video online, either watch the video on a PC or get a friend to download the file and watch it on your computer using a video player such as VLC.  A frustrating process, I know.)
  • Home and Learn – This site walks you through some of the basics of conditional formatting in a supportive, conversational style.
  • How-to Geek – There’s not a lot of useful information on this site, but if you’re a visual learner, you’ll find lots of screenshots that might remind you of what we covered in our workshop.

Further Learning

  • Feeling comfortable with conditional formatting?  Ready to learn more ways to use it?  This site has some terrific examples of how to take conditional formatting even further to mask certain data when printing, highlight certain items in a list, and more.  Some of the site’s suggestions are now unnecessary due to the new features in Excel 2007 (and newer), such as creating colored shapes (which Excel now does for you with the icon options).
Go to Top