Dell Grant -- DDE
A Reporter’s Guide to Microsoft Access
For education journalists with basic and intermediate Access skills
Published May 2016
What is Microsoft Access?
Microsoft Access is a great database manager. It allows you to use queries to pull specific information from a database. For instance, if you have a database with a million rows of information and 30 columns, you can specify what information in that data you want to see by using a query – it’s like creating a mini-database. It’s different than doing filters in Excel, because filtered information is still there but you just can’t see it. Access also allows you to join two files with ease.
For every savant who’s skilled enough to ditch class and still ace the course, many more who miss school fall way behind, increasing their odds of dropping out or performing poorly.
The implications are major: If a school has a high number of students repeatedly absent, there’s a good chance other troubles are afoot. Feeling uninspired in the classroom, poor family outreach, or struggles at students’ homes are just some of the root causes of absenteeism, experts say.
Published April 2016
Reporters use Microsoft Excel to analyze data to look for trends, anomalies and story ideas. Databases are full of information broken down into rows and columns. This guide will teach skills that are needed to clean and analyze databases to extract information for story use. Remember, there are stories in the data.
Published December 2015
Getting a read on the American public’s views on education is no easy task, made more complicated by just how much local schools vary. In a country with more than 13,000 school districts that enroll nearly 50 million students, a range of experiences and perspectives are to be expected.
While it may seem that every back-to-school story has been written, the well is far from dry. Are you following the blogs teachers in your district write? Have you amassed the data sets you’ll need to write that deep dive explaining why so many local high school graduates land in remedial classes when they first enter college?
No? It’s OK. You’re not alone.
Fifty years ago, the federal government enacted the landmark Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 as part of President Lyndon Johnson’s war on poverty. The newest version of the ESEA, the No Child Left Behind Act, became law 13 years ago and has stayed in place ever since. On Thursday, a new version of the federal government’s most far-reaching K-12 education law moved closer to adoption. The U.S. Senate passed the Every Child Achieves Act, one week after the U.S. House of Representatives passed its own version, the Student Success Act.
In an early glimpse of how much tougher state tests could be in the Common Core era, a new federal report released in July shows that early adopters of the controversial standards are assessing their students with a far higher degree of difficulty.
News stories on school district budgets often stick to whether spending is up or down, whether employees received raises or not. So Dallas Morning News reporter Tawnell Hobbs helped attendees at the Education Writers Association National Seminar delve deeper into school spending and unlock the juiciest stories during a session in Chicago on April 20.
Two new national reports paint a grim picture of unfair and inequitable funding of public education across states, with schools serving the highest proportion of impoverished students most often on the losing end.
The shift from high school to college or the workforce is harrowing enough, but for the 6 million students diagnosed with a disability, the stakes are higher and the transition all the more challenging.
The nation’s students are graduating from high school at record rates and the reasons can be attributed to school reform efforts, not improving economic trends, argues a new report released by several organizations, including an advocacy group backed by former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell.
At a speech in December, Janet Yellen, the chair of the Federal Reserve, took the United States to task for the way it funds schools.
“Public education spending is often lower for students in lower-income households than for students in higher-income households,” she told the audience at the Conference on Economic Opportunity and Inequality, in Boston.
Need a state or national statistic? There’s likely a federal data set for that. From fairly intuitive and interactive widgets to dense spreadsheets — and hundreds of data summaries in between — the U.S. Department of Education’s various research programs are a gold mine for reporters on the hunt for facts and figures.
Despite previous reports that new teachers are ditching their professions in record numbers, new federal data suggest that a grand majority of novice classroom instructors are showing up for work year after year.
Eighty-three percent of rookie teachers in 2007 continued to educate public school students half a decade later, according to the 2007–08 Beginning Teacher Longitudinal Study. Ten percent of teachers left the field after just one year.
American eighth graders continue to demonstrate lackluster knowledge and skills when asked basic questions about U.S. history, geography, and civics, with between 18 and 27 percent of students scoring proficient or higher, new data show.
The last decade’s increasing reliance on data-driven education tools has policy leaders scrambling to safeguard personal information as Americans increasingly become concerned about their children’s digital footprints.
Chief among the challenges lawmakers face is juggling the extraordinary growth of an industry and the personal safety of students.
Afterschool programs can do more than reinforce academic lessons taught in the classroom or introduce new skills kids don’t have time to learn during school hours.
For interactive map, scroll down.
More students in the United States are graduating from high school, according to newly released data from the U.S. Department of Education.
“America’s students have achieved another record-setting milestone,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a prepared statement. “This is a vital step toward readiness for success in college and careers for every student in this country, and these improvements are thanks to the hard work of teachers, principals, students and families.”
At Summit Public School: Denali, young learners do it differently. Most of the students at this Bay Area-area school complete their coursework on school-issued Chromebooks, where they access a portal to online videos, assigned readings and interim assessments they take at their own pace. It’s a competency-based approach to proving they have mastered the subject at hand.
The United States spent $600 billion to fund public education in the nation’s K-12 schools in 2011, according to a new report released by the U.S. Department of Education that captures the latest figures on national public education spending.
The United States has a gifted and talented student problem: Mainly, too few of the nation’s students score high on domestic and international assessments, and those that do are disproportionately well-off, Asian-American or white.
How Do Reporters Answer the Question ‘What School Is Best for My Kid?’
Webinar on School Choice Data
Is there an objective way of presenting school data that transcends the politics of school choice?
How do reporters and news outlets more broadly serve their readership with relevant information about schools in their communities?
Being born in the United States does not guarantee proficiency in English. Maybe you knew this, maybe you didn’t. But it was new to me. Here’s what I learned.
As tools and data profiles of students become easier to use, are teachers sufficiently data literate to make sense of the information at their fingertips? Do teachers have the skills and access to data in useful formats, and are the school leaders and institutions responsible for their professional development providing them the training they need? The stakes are high: Teachers behind in data literacy may miss out on innovative ways to track student progress, personalize instruction, and improve their own practice.
Nearly 10 percent of K-12 students in the United States are not native English speakers. That’s 4.4 million children enrolled in school who have been identified as English language learners.
In the Minneapolis Public Schools, nearly two-thirds of the district’s enrollment are students of color. Additionally, 65 percent of the district’s more than 35,000 students qualify for free and reduced-price meals. Beth Hawkins, a reporter for the MinnPost, had a hunch that the best-paid local teachers were working in the wealthiest schools, teaching white students. But this was just a guess, and her colleague at the nonprofit news site, data editor Tom Nehil, wanted to see the numbers.
Campaign finance might seem like the exclusive province of political reporters, but there are many good reasons why you should be paying attention – both in races for education positions and in other key races at the local, state, and federal levels with implications for education. You’ll need basic math and it helps to have familiarity with a spreadsheet, but you’ll find that once you’ve mastered the basics, a good campaign finance story can take on the fun of light detective work.
Amid the strong and growing drumbeat of complaints about overtesting at the K-12 level, many education reporters and others may be left wondering how much time students really spend taking standardized tests. And who is demanding most of this testing, anyway? The federal government? States? Local districts?
This is a transcript of EWA’s webinar “Data Privacy Rules and Ruses” and has been edited for length and clarity.
Mikhail Zinshteyn: Welcome everybody to today’s webinar, entitled Data Privacy Rules and Ruses. I’m Mikhail Zinshteyn of EWA and joining us is Frank LoMonte of the Student Press Law Center. For the next half hour, Frank will give us an in-depth look at the chief federal student data privacy law, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
Data journalism is more than just reporting on numbers. It’s taking the records of a half-million students and uncovering alarming absentee rates. It’s tracking the attrition of students from neighborhood schools.
The current generation of assessments being taken by students across the country is something like a bad boyfriend.
That’s according to Jacqueline King of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, who made the point at EWA’s National Seminar held last month at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. When a better guy (or test) comes along, she continued, it’s hard to take it seriously.
At EWA’s 67th National Seminar, we brought together 18 speakers — each with a unique viewpoint — to discuss the rollout of the new Common Core State Standards. This post is Part 2. Click here for Part 1. Part 3 will follow.
Georgia Teacher of the Year Jemelleh Coes said her eighth-grade student Tyler, diagnosed with behavioral issues, went from refusing to participate in class to opening up, analyzing, self-reflecting and basing his arguments on fact.
EWA recently hosted a seminar in New Orleans on early childhood education. We asked some of the journalists who attended to contribute posts from the sessions. Today’s guest blogger is Alexander Russo of Scholastic’s This Week in Education. You can also find out more about early childhood education on EWA’s Topics page.
EWA recently hosted a seminar in New Orleans on early childhood education. We asked some of the journalists who attended to contribute posts from the sessions. Today’s guest blogger is Leslie Brody of The Record in New Jersey. You can also find out more about early childhood education on EWA’s Topics page.
In the face of the enormous challenge of boosting public funds for preschool, advocates of early childhood education are getting creative.
At EWA’s Higher Education Seminar, held earlier this fall at Northeastern University, we examined the challenges of military personnel making the transition from soldiers to students. Given today’s holiday, it seemed like a good time to share a post from my EWA colleague Mikhail Zinshteyn.
Far more students seeking higher education degrees are part-time, older than the traditional 18-22 set and well into their careers. And colleges have been flagged for their lagging efforts to address the unique needs of these mature students.
The “Nation’s Report Card” is out today for fourth and eighth graders in reading and math, and while there are some positive trends over the past two decades, a significant achievement gap persists among minorities and for America’s students when compared with their peers internationally.
A new report highlighting the growing rate of poverty among suburban residents warns that traditional policies aimed at combating indigence aren’t designed to address the problem adequately.
How equitable is education in your school districts? Do low-income and minority students have the same access to advanced math and science classes, or Advanced Placement courses? Are teachers in low-income schools veterans or new teachers?
The American Educational Research Association (AERA) held its annual meeting in San Francisco in May, and we asked some of the journalists in attendance to cover a few of the sessions for us. Given that early childhood education is back on the front burner, it seemed like a good time to share this post from Martha Dalton of Public Broadcasting Atlanta.
“Leading indicators” in education — as in economics — can provide early signs of progress toward academic achievement and thus help district leaders and other stakeholders make informed decisions about efforts to improve student learning.