I have been busy with other work, so I have not had much time to post. I have been using the information from my past posts in my other work, so I think this is a valuable use of my time. I am learning how to better visualize data and better able to remember what data I have already examined. The other day I got asked a question about dual enrollment, and the first place I looked to answer the question was at an old blog post I had written earlier in the year.

Today, I am taking a brief look at educator qualifications. I have not looked at this data before, and I saw it was posted on the Maryland State Department of Education’s website.

Types of Educator Qualifications

First I looked at the types of data that they publish. They publish the count and percent of inexperienced educators, inexperienced teachers, out-of-field teachers, and teachers with emergency or provisional credentials. The data has two files, one by poverty level and the other by students of color. I love that I can download this data in an Excel file easily, but a weakness of the data presentation is that I’m not always sure what the definitions mean and there isn’t any easily accessible documentation. I could probably get additional information if I asked, but it isn’t worth it for my purposes which are learning data visualization techniques, getting a better idea about the data available, and remembering what I have read.

For this chart, I kept it in the order that the data is published, which is mostly alphabetical with Baltimore City, SEED, School, and statewide at the bottom. For a more formal chart, I would move Baltimore City up into alphabetical order and decide what to do about SEED and statewide. That level of effort didn’t seem reasonable for this exploratory chart.

For this split bar chart, I think that it is interesting that the grayed-out area does not equal 100%, rather I think it is the largest value in the column. I’m not sure what I think about it, but I do think it makes it easier to compare some of the larger values.

I wonder why some local school systems have more educators and teachers that are inexperienced, teaching out-of-field, or on an emergency or provisional credential. I will have to do more research into this area, but it is good to know this data exists for my future work. Next, I plan to dig deeper into the out-of-field teachers poverty level.

The Maryland Comprehensive Assessment Program (MCAP) are the assessments that are used to meet federal Early Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) assessment requirements. MCAP has five score levels, a student who scores at level 4 or 5 is considered proficient on the material. Because of the pandemic, the MCAP was last administered in 2019.

I used data from the Maryland Report Card website to look at the percentage of students who are certified eligible for free and reduced-price meals compared to all students who took the assessment. I choose Math 5 because I wanted a group of students that had been in the school system for some time and to only capture first-time test takers. Also generally in middle school, a subsection of students start taking the Algebra I assessment (because they take Algebra) and thus are not included in the grade-level assessment. The data reports percentages of students, not the number of students. Thus, I can not easily calculate the non-FARMS subgroup, which might be a better comparison group since FARMS students are included in the all students category.

To bring some type of order to the data I reverse sorted it by all students. From a data visualization point of view I think this is an effective way of looking at the data. There is a lot of data, but it is easy to read and all of the counties are on the same chart. I wish I could better highlight the State average data with vertical lines or bolded dots, but I do not think that is an option in this software.