Achieving Excellence in Data Visualization

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National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment December Newsletter


Assessment, like most other areas of the education field, has experienced a dramatic increase in the amount of data available for analysis. The data deluge and new demands from the public for educational accountability have required educational assessment professionals to examine new ways to present assessment data and analysis. Technological advancements over the past few decades have revolutionized the way we gather, analyze, and present data. Access to data, analytic tools, and graphic software are available to almost anyone with a computer and an internet connection. Unfortunately, access does not always equal excellence. The new wealth of data and analysis represents both promises and problems for the educational assessment community. Assessment professionals are faced with the conundrum of having more data to communicate; however, they must present it in a manner that informs rather than overwhelms the stakeholders. Visualization offers one possible solution for presenting data in an understandable format and new technological tools have simplified the task of producing visual representations of data.