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Interpreting Data

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Organize and Summarize

Organize

  1. Low-Tech Stacks
    1. Identify the categories for each stack.
      1. Three or four qualities such as “unacceptable,” “acceptable,” and “outstanding” can be a good place to start.
      2. Consider using a rubric that you share with your students that explains the expectations. You can make your own, or use a website like Rubistar.
    2. Make the stacks or use a piece of paper and tally for each category you have defined.
  2. Excel Spreadsheet
    1. If you have numerical results, using Excel to record your data can help with the next steps of providing a summary of your information.
    2. Because student learning outcomes are recorded in the aggregate – bringing together information from multiple sections and courses – a spreadsheet will simplify gathering data.
    3. For more advanced use of Excel, consider taking a class here at Sierra College, explore options for teaching yourself, and keep in mind Research is here to help.
  3. Research Support
    1. If you get stuck along the way, don’t hesitate to contact the Office of Research and Planning at 916-660-7511.

Summarize

    1. Frequency Tables
        1. Provide a distribution of results based upon categories of success
        2. List the items and use tally marks to record and show number of times they occur:
          graph

      1. Use an excel spreadsheet and make your frequency table appear more sophisticated:
        graph
    2. Percentages
        1. Because results are being gathered in the aggregate, looking at percentages is a good way to view assessment results
        2. Use a pie chart or list to show how your total assessment is divided:graph
    3. Averages
      1. By gathering results to identify an average score, instructors can use assessments to calculate individual grades and then provide an aggregate for the course.
CriteriaTimJaneMaryJoeDaveAverage
Spelling 3 4 1 2 3 2.6
Grammar 2 5 3 2 5 3.4
Punctuation 4 5 2 3 4 3.6
Structure 3 2 3 5 3 3.8
Total 12 16 9 12 15 12.8
Grade C A D C B  

  1. Qualitative Summary
    1. Some data just can’t be quantified. Keep in mind that you want to develop a short summary. The wealth of information you have gathered and will utilize for analysis can be included in an attachment in Tracdat, but for reporting purposes, be brief and concise.

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