Posted by Mark Schalock - NCDB
As we post the Deaf-Blind Child Count for 2010, it seems a good time to revisit the tools available through NCDB to delve deeper into the Child Count data. A year ago, in June 2010, NCDB hosted a webinar on the newly created Child Count Data Maps and the updated Pivot Tables/Charts. This blog entry is intended to provide some ideas and strategies on how to use the tools in concert to maximize each tool’s capabilities.
Each tool has different strengths that can easily be exploited to provide you with very specific information. The Data Maps are perfect for seeing the big picture and identifying states with similar characteristics. The Pivot Charts/Tables are better suited to delving down in to the data to find specific patterns.
For example, you are in Nebraska and are interested in providing professional development on administering alternative assessments tied to regular grade level standards. You might was to identify other states that have similar patterns of children taking regular grade level alternative state assessments to talk with your colleagues about what they have done in this area. To do this, you can select this option on the data mapping tool and see which other states are similar. The map below shows that there are a number of other states in the region that have a similar pattern: Iowa, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. Using the data map provides a quick, visual summary of this query.
 An archived version of this webinar can be accessed at: http://www.nationaldb.org/NCDBProducts.php?prodID=121
Switching now to the Pivot Tables/Charts, you can select just these states to conduct additional analyses around state assessments. For example, you are especially interested in the professional development targeting middle school and high school age students. You also want to know whether educational placement is in any way related to type of assessment. In Excel 2007, you can select just those states, age ranges and type of assessment by filtering each of these variables.
To select specific states, click on State in the Pivot Table Field List (see below), un-click “all” and then check those states you want to include. Next, select State Assessment and select the option of alternative assessment regular grade level standards. Finally, select Age Group and select the school age groups of “6-11”, “12-17” and “18-21.” You now can compare yourself to your neighbor states. You will see that like most of the states, the largest group of children/youth taking alterative assessments tied to regular grade level standards is in middle and high school. Arkansas is the exception, where the largest group is at the elementary level. Thus, contacting Colorado, Iowa and Oklahoma would be indicated.
To see whether these is a difference by educational setting, move Age Group and State Assessment back up into the Pivot Table Field List pane and move Educational Setting into the Legend Field pane after selecting just the school age settings (see below). You will notice that the age group and state assessment filters will remain in effect.
As expected, the largest group of children/youth in school age special education taking alternative assessments tied to regular grade level standards, is in regular classrooms less than 40% of the day. This is expected because this is the most common overall education setting. However, Oklahoma and Arkansas are the only other states with children/youth in Homebound/Hospital settings who are taking alternative assessment tied to regular grade level standards. You might want to contact colleagues in these states if a Homebound/Hospital setting is important.
This example is simply designed to show how you can use both the Data Mapping tool and the Pivot Table/Charts together to address any number of questions or issues.
You can access the Data Maps at: http://www.nationaldb.org/censusMaps.php
If you have not already downloaded the Pivot Tables/Charts, please contact us and we will provide the information needed to do so.
For more information or help, please contact Mark Schalock at firstname.lastname@example.org
Or at (503) 838-8777.