#ESPTwiminar11–Dashboard Insights

Education data dashboards on the Web share little with their historical namesakes, mud catchers on horse-drawn carriages. (Maybe just a little.) More should be in common with the dashboards on planes and automobiles. Those contain instruments and controls. Instruments and controls imply an active relationship with the user. As the data on the plane’s or automobile’s dashboard changes in real time, the user decides the appropriate action to take. In fact, when the users of an automobile or aircraft dashboard look at a dashboard, they are in an action mode. The data they are viewing are of immediate use. Those data are informing pending actions.

That’s the goal of our education dashboards.

When ESP began building web reports years ago, they weren’t referred to as dashboards. Early on, some of us even resisted using the term dashboard because it undervalued the richness of the data being presented. Of course, today, dashboards in automobiles are computer monitors with GPS, calculation of driving ranges, back-up cameras, and even parallel parking assistants. Our education dashboards should hope to be so helpful.

In this paper, we begin to compile lessons learned about dashboards. Our hope was that we would discover what research has shown ensures effective usage of a dashboard. As ESP continues to implement dashboards for our clients, we wanted to know how to ensure successful usage by teachers, school staff, district personnel, state program officers, policy makers at all levels, and, as appropriate the students, parents, and public. This is not the final paper. We have dashboard projects on-going that continue to provide insights.