At City Year, and the schools that we work in, data is our friend. We use it to discover which students are most in need of our support, and we continue to use it to track that students progress - not to mention we as an organization use it to track the progress of our members throughout their year of service! Given our appreciation for data, we were excited to learn about the 2015 Do Good Data Conference and their partnership with the Tableau Foundation, which provides participants with a free 1 year license of Tableau’s Desktop Software in order to apply it to their work.
The software is unique, giving users the power to easily combine their existing data sources to discover and produce visualizations that highlight patterns and lead them to investigate trends across multiple data sets. We haven't seen this type of data layout before, and we were eager to apply it to our work in schools.
City Year Chicago has teams placed in 21 schools throughout the city, and each team collects a wide range of data points to measure our impact. We rely heavily on interpreting this data to take advantage of every minute we spend with our students. Recently, our Evaluation Analyst, Steph Adrales, traveled to Al Raby high school in order to see the newly-produced results from Tableau’s Software with our team there – the depth of the software was made clear within the first 5 minutes!
A major component of our members’ work is called ‘Time on Task’ (herein referred to as ToT), which is the minute-by-minute breakdown of the time that members spend working with students. Thanks to the Tableau Software, Steph was able to provide the team with different ways of looking at the weekly ToT breakdown for their each of their students, which clearly showed how much time is being spent with each student and when.
Almost instantly, corps members were able to identify trends and connect their ToT breakdown to events that caused lower ToT results. For example, corps member Brooke Davis pointed out that she has trouble completing her ToT on Mondays, because that is the day that her students struggle with attendance the most. The data backed this up, and so Brooke was able to begin thinking about ways to secure more ToT during different parts of the week, where the data shows an increase in ToT. As we move into the last quarter of the school year, the Raby team is armed with new information to make the most out of these last few months.
See any patterns in these two AmeriCorps Members' students? The team realized that Week 11 is the 6th week of the quarter, right after students see their Progress Report Grades! They're already making plans to capitalize on student motivation during that week for the next quarter.
This is just one example of the way that this new, layered data is affecting our approach to the work we do. We have only rolled this data out to this one school out of the 21 that we work in, and we are excited to apply this software to our other schools!