Check out the live dashboard - I will try to update it every time I change something of significance. As my primary motivation for participating was to learn, I am planning to keep implementing the mocked up features described in the original submission (see /src/mockups ).
I have decided not to change the concept, even though I am tempted to borrow some of the good ideas of the winning entry ;-)
Competition Entry Submission
This document aims to describe the design and rationale behind the dashboard and can not serve as user manual. The current dashboard design should be treated as finished prototype, ready to be shown to client, but pending tweeks based on initial feedback and not yet ready for a wide rollout. The dashboard consists of the following elements: 1. Students table The table at the top part of the dashboard has a row for each student 1.1. Sorting The table is sorted by decreasing difference between desired and current grade, illustrated by bullet graph in the 'Objective' column. This means that the students that are furthest away from their target grade would always be at the top of the list. This criteria can be tweaked based on teacher's input to take into account the assignment scores, remaining assignments, assignment weight, etc. The sorting can not be changed, which limits the exploration capabilities of the dashboard, but allows the teachers to internalize spatial patterns and percieve anomalies. I.e. "long-bar in the attendance column near to the top of the table" - a sign that a performance, likely caused by skipping classes. 1.2. Student name and Badges column The name of the student is in the first column, serving as implicit label for the rest of the data in the row. After each name there may be some icons (we call them 'badges'), indicating specific circumstances about the said student. The expectation is that by using the dashboard every day, a teacher would quickly learn what each badge means. Hovering over the badge pops a tooltip with explanation and details. Here is a list of the badges employed in the current screenshot: | ICON | TOOLTIP ------------------------------------------------ | bull-horn | Special education status | globe | English language not proficient | bell | late assignments The color of a badge may be used as secondary indicator (i.e. for severity). For the 'bell' icon, the color depends on how many assignments have been late - red for >50%, gray for >20%, light gray for >0 Badges are supposed to be unobtrusive 'by the way' indicators that would draw the teacher's attention to the relevant details. They are placed immediately after the student name, and do not have a dedicated column, as we expect teachers will rarely search for a badge, but will only use it to provide context to a name. 1.3. Standardized Math Assessment Test column The heading of Standardized Math Assignment column is abreviated to 'SMA', as a teacher is likely to know what that means (if there is another acronym in common use by American teachers we should use that). Hovering over the column label pops a tooltip with full description 'Standardized Math Assignment over the years' Each row conists of the latest score and a sparkline dot plot, of the SMA results over the last 5 years. The dot corresponding to the depicted number is closest to the number and is different color. 3 gray lines form placed at 25%, 50% and 75% form a 'staff' (similar to musical notation) , allowing the teacher to judge in qhich quartile a dot is. Hovering over the cell (text or graph) displays a tooltip with the values for the past years (the current year's score is already on the screen): 'Past years scores: 9th grade 50%, 8th grade 45%, 7th grade 56%, 6th grade 56%' 1.4. Objectve column The objective column summarizes the current grade, the student's desired grade and last year's grade in a bullet chart. The bar of the bulet indicates the current grade, the track indicates the target and the notch indicates last year's grade. All data is easy to asses visually, except the difference between current and desired grade, which may be an important indicator (that is the reason we are using it for sorting the table). Hovering over the graph displays a tooltip with the actual values: 'Current: C, Goal: C, Last year: F' 1.5. Assignments column The visualization is the same as the one used in the SMA column, with the addition of an indicator for late assignments (blue number in parens after the sparkline). The late indicator is colored blue (same as other non-score data), while the test scores are black. Hovering over the graph displays a tooltip with the actual values: 'Assignment scores: 66%, 71%, 73%, 70%, 79%' or 'Assignment scores: 66%, 71%, 73%, 70%, 79% (1 returned late)' 1.6. Disciplinary column Stacked horizontal bar chart, with fixed center, allowing comparison between both the number of detentions and referals (detentions are darker, extending to the left; referrals are lighter, on the right). The total length of both bars shows the sum of all disciplinary incidents. The previous year detentions/referals are displayed as ticks, facilitating comparison. Hovering over the graph displays a tooltip with the human readable description: '1 detention and 2 referrals' (if no referrals last year) or '1 referral (last year 1 detention and 1 referral)' (if disciplined last year) If not disciplined this year, last year's offences are not displayed to reduce the clutter. 1.7. Attendance column Same structure as the disciplinary chart, but without the last year markers. The total length of the bar tells us the total number of days when a student has not been on time. The left-side outline gives us the no-show stats, the right side the tardy stats. The tooltip text when you hover over a bar is: 'Absences: Jul 13, Jul 17, Sept 9' or 'Tardy: Jun 12, Jul: 31' 2. Peer group statistics Below the students chart is the peer group statistics, showing distribution of grades among student populations of all classes of the current teacher, the whole school and the whole district. The median in each population is marked with blue tick. This chart is of limited usefulness by itself, but provides context when interacting with the dashboard. As the traffic-light color scheme is a bit distracting, I also experimented with monochrome version and it works better in some situations (see all PNG's suffixed with '-alt-). Further usability testing of interaction scenarios is required to decide in which situations color / monochrome works better and devise a strategy for switching between them without creating unwanted transitions. 3. Last class presence At the bottom of the dashboard is the last class presence information, this is a quick reminder for the teacher before they start the class. 4. Interaction Mousing over a row would highlight the row and place markers of where that student would be in all three peer groups: Mousing over a quantitive column would color code the values in the column in three 33-percentile groups. For example, in '3-dashboard-column.png', the teacher has hovered over the 'Assignments' heading and the students are highlighted as bottom, middle and top third. It would work the same way for the SMA column, 'Objectives' would color based on target score, 'Disciplinary' and 'Attendance' would color based on total number of offences. Mousing over the peer-group graph, would show a marker and would color the SMA values above and below the threshold. 5. Responsive design The refinements below would allow the dashboard to be displayed on a smartphone, tablet and PC with the best possible dataset and minimum scrolling. If the view is too short and does not fit the whole student table, together with the peer group stats, the peer stats section stays docked (fixed) at the bottom of the window, while vertical scrolling scrolls the student list. When the end student list is fully displayed, on further scroll down, we display the 'last class presence' section. If the view is too narrow, we try to shrink the width Disciplinary, Attendance and Objective graphs. If the view width is below a certain threshold, we would replace the Disciplinary/Attendance graphs, with two simple numbers (ignoring historical data). If the view width is below a second threshold, we would replace the bullet chart with simplified textual description of current and desired grades (i.e. 'A->C', meaning that student has A, but they set their goal to C). 6. Further options to consider - Rich tooltips - instead of textual summary, the tooltips may in contain tables and simple graphs to allow faster reading. - The sorting criteria should be further tweaked to reflect teacher's expectations. - Reassess the usefulness of the current badges. Once familiarized with the concept, talk with teachers about what notable indicators they may find useful for performance evaluation. - If the application supports user profiles, teachers should be able to: - change the quoefficients of the formula calculating the 'index' used for sorting. - choose which badges they want or don't want to see - customize thresholds for color-coded badges - As I could not find information whether referals cause detentions, or they are unrelated incidents, I assumed the latter. If it was the former, I would use a 'bottle graph' - a stacked chart with detentions at the base (left) and non-detention- referals stacked on top of it with a narrower bar (same color). The last year referals would be indicated by a dot on the central axis. Overall looking like this (text not part of the graph): | +--------------+-----------+ | This year: 2 det, 4 ref +-----------------+ | Last year: 1 det, 1 ref O | | +-----------------+ +--------------+-----------+ | | +--------------+ | | TY: 1D, 3R +-----------+---------+ | LY, 2D, 2R O | | +-----------+---------+ +--------------+ | | | +--------------+ | | TY: 1D, 1R | | | LY: 3D, 4R | | O | | | +--------------+ | |