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The Obama Administration Gets It with NCES’s New Data Dashboard

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January 28, 2011 06:11 pm


If you’re like me and regularly rely on data from the National Center for Education Statistics for your work, you know how difficult it can be to find just the right piece of data from the multitude of different data sets available. That’s why NCES’s new Education Dashboard is so exciting.

The dashboard compiles all of the essential data necessary to quickly take the temperature of the nation’s education system, and, in particular, how well we’re moving towards President Obama’s goal to once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020.

But the dashboard provides more than just convenience. With this new data tool, the Obama Administration demonstrates that they get it: meeting our national goal for more post-secondary degrees requires more than just a focus on higher education; it requires reform across all levels of the education system.

When you first enter the site, the dashboard gives you a snapshot of progress on a multitude of educational indicators spanning all the way from pre-school to post-secondary. Progress for each of the indicators is indicated by an easy-to-understand arrow pointing up for improvement, down for back-tracking, or side to side for no change as compared to previous years’ data.

But lest you think this is an overly simplified picture of the state of education in America, the dashboard also lets you roll up your sleeves and dig deeper, investigating for each indicator how states stack up against each other and how student subgroups are performing compared to each other.

obama map


For example, when looking more closely at the indicator that measures our progress toward President Obama’s goal, the percentage of 25- to 34-year olds with at least an associate’s degree, you can pull up a map (see the picture to the right) that stratifies states into three tiers of success on this measure. You can also look at the table below the map to see how different subgroups in different states are performing on this measure.

All of this data presented in such an easy-to-understand layout is an extremely valuable tool. So, fellow data enthusiasts, get in there and start exploring!


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Every Child a Graduate. Every Child Prepared for Life.