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Education Department Overhauls Data Website

A year after the Education Department launched its Ed Data Express Web site to help researchers and the public access the mountains of data it collects, the department today released a new version of the site with considerably more data analysis bells and whistles.

The site includes detailed information on state and National Assessment of Educational Progress assessments, school accountability reports, education budget information, and program reporting data, among other information.

The upgrades are intended to help visitors navigate the information more visually. New tools allow you to map student demographic data across states, or set up trend lines to track graduation rate changes across multiple years.

In what might be most helpful for researchers, the new site also includes an analysis tool to view multiple data elements in context. In my initial puttering around the site, I found this one pretty useful. It's easy to look at the number of schools that made adequate yearly progress in 2009, say, when their state had only 25 percent of its English-language learners proficient. (For those interested, the ELL student group makes a big difference; nine states had 300 or more schools in improvement when 25 percent of the ELL population was proficient.) The tool also highlights areas where state data is less comprehensive, such as the achievement of former English language learners who have attained proficiency.

As a frequent Tweeter, I also like the new ability to share data from the site directly through social networking sites, including Twitter and Facebook.

ED expects to release a third update this winter, including more detailed snapshots of state data. ""By providing parents and educators with more robust and interactive ways to explore education data, we are supporting their ability to understand, evaluate and improve how we educate our children," Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a statement on the release.

For readers who are familiar with the National Center for Education Statistics site's data tools, how do you think this compares?

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