Step Up with Stepwell: Learning Through State Data Visualization

The data surrounding IDEA Parts B and C are complicated, drawing information from graduation rates, enrollment statistics, compliance measures, and more. Complex as it is, it’s essential for LEA and SEA users to understand and interpret data.  It indicates patterns and trends that reveal past, present, and the potential future performance levels related to students and districts.

There are two distinct areas of state data collection that provide LEA and SEA staff with vital information:

  • Demographic data include information about students with and without disabilities at the LEAs, regional service areas and statewide.
  • IDEA compliance data reveal how LEAs perform on the IDEA Part B and Part C State Performance Plan measures and indicators.

Combined, these data help LEAs and state officials understand characteristics about the population of students served, where they are located, and how individual LEAs perform with regard to compliance and results indicators.

In a spreadsheet or poorly designed graph, this importance of this information can easily be lost on the user. For busy administrators that rely on data and the facts and implications behind the numbers to get their work done, a comprehensive data display is absolutely essential.

The solution is effective data visualization. The Stepwell team has extensive experience with visualizing state education data, which we have incorporated with our knowledge of the IDEA Parts B and C compliance process. By investigating how Stepwell users will interact with this information, we developed specialized visualizations that allow educators and administrators to quickly access and understand complex patterns and relationships. We have anticipated the varying needs of different users, and use best practices in visualization design to communicate effectively.

These data visualizations come in two forms: data bytes and interactive reports.

Data Bytes

The data bytes, located on the dashboard, provide Stepwell users with the ability to choose what information to check on each time they log in. These compact charts give their viewers a quick, updated overview of state data. The data bytes can be customized for each user’s dashboard.

Here are just a few data bytes that Stepwell can generate:

data bytes

Interactive Reports

For users that need more than an overview, interactive reports offer a much more detailed data analysis. Just a click on a data byte takes the user to the report. The added complexity of additional data does not diminish its comprehensibility. The interactive reports allow users to manipulate settings, filter data, and explore, so they see only what they need to understand the story behind the data.

Both types of visualizations will aid Stepwell users at the local and state levels. A special education coordinator can compare enrollment and the number of IEPs within the distinct over a period of time. At the state level an SEA administrator can use the data visualization as a tool to identify which districts are performing well and which ones need more support, and to investigate the reasons behind these differences in performance.

By including data visualization as a key component of the software, Stepwell provides users with a single platform that includes every tool necessary for IDEA Parts B and C compliance.