Love (Need) Data? ED Data Express Is For You!

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by Elaine Mulligan
Project Director
National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY)U.S. Department of Education logo

What does the “achievement gap” look like from state to state? How are students with disabilities doing on state tests in Idaho versus Ohio? Find out using the ED Data Express!

The U.S. Department of Education recently launched version 2.0 of its ED Data Express site, an interactive web site that allows users to examine state-level data of many educational factors.

Here are some of the ways you can use ED Data Express.

State Snapshot

Simple select-a-state summary of different data points including:

• Demographics

• Highly Qualified Teachers

• Reading & Math achievement by race (state test + NAEP)

• NAEP achievement trends

• Graduation rates

You can view the state data online or download it as an Excel spreadsheet.

Data Element Explorer

This feature is a little complex but really rich with information. Drop-down menus allow you to choose and filter the data you want to see. You can display it on graphs, charts, maps, and with trend lines.


• Accountability Components

• Achievement Data

• Adequate Yearly Progress Data

• Annual Measurable Objectives

• Homeless Program (McKinney-Vento Act)

• Migrant Education Program

• Options for Parents

• State Facts and Figures

• Teachers

• Title III Program (English Language Learners)

When you select your desired category, the options appear in the Group, Sub-Group, and Data Element menus.

So, for example, if you want to look at Achievement Data, your Group options become:

• Advanced Placement Data

• Graduation Rate Data

• NAEP Data

• State Test Data 2004-2005

• State Test Data 2005-2006

• State Test Data 2006-2007

• State Test Data 2007-2008

• State Test Data 2008-2009

 If you select State Test Data 2008-2009 as your Group, your Sub-Group options become:

• State Test in Math Grade 4: 2008-2009

• State Test in Math Grade 8: 2008-2009

• State Test in Math High School: 2008-2009

• State Test in Reading Grade 4: 2008-2009

• State Test in Reading Grade 8: 2008-2009

• State Test in Reading High School: 2008-2009

• State Test in Science Elementary School: 2008-2009

• State Test in Science High School: 2008-2009

• State Test in Science Middle School: 2008-2009

Once you select the test data you want to see, you can choose your Data Element for that test in that year by:

• All Students

• American Indian and Alaska Native

• Asian and Pacific Islander

• Black

• Children with Disabilities

• Female

• Hispanic

• Limited English Proficient

• Low Income

• Male

• Migrant

• White

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Graphs and Tables

Select your Data Element and click Go. Ed Data Express will take you to the Graphs and Tables for your selected data by state. You can sort the states by alphabetical order (ascending or descending) or by the states’ Percent Proficiency on the assessment you selected (also ascending or descending).

Data Mapping

Selecting the Data Mapping tab allows you to create a national map of the data element you chose, coded by value. The default values of the maps will be the upper and lower limits of your data, so be sure to experiment with the range. For example, change the Lower Bound limit to 50 and the map will show all states where at least 50% of students were proficient in bright blue, while states with less than 50% proficiency will turn light blue.

Trend Lines

The next tab allows you to view Trend Lines for some data elements. Simply click on the Trend Lines tab; if there is data for more than one year for your element, you can choose to look at trends nationally or for a specific state.

Conditional Analysis

You can also refine your data further using the Conditional Analysis tab. For example, if you’re looking at data on English Proficiency for All English Language Learners in 2008-2009, you can narrow that data by introducing an additional condition: “What are the data for English Language Proficiency, All English Learners: 2008-09 1, when . . .” AND you can select Data Elements from the same lists where you began your search! You might select:

• Category: Teachers

• Group: Highly Qualified Teacher Data

• Sub-Group: Highly Qualified Teachers 2008-2009

• Data Element: Percent of Core Academic Classes Taught by Highly Qualified Teachers 2008-2009

Next, you will need to set your parameters. What percentages do you want to see? You might select Greater Than or Equal To and type in 70%. Click the Results button and you will see a graph and table of only the English Language Proficiency of students who are being taught in states where the average percentage of core academic teachers is at least 70%.

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Build a State Table

This feature allows you to compare two or more states on a variety of factors.

1. Select the states you want to see (or All States).

2. Choose how you want the states to display, vertically or horizontally. Vertically is better if you are looking at a lot of states.

3. Select the Data Elements you want to see.

4. Select whether you want the data elements to display by category or alphabetically. Click Display Report.

ED Data Express will generate a report of all of your data elements in a side-by-side comparison for your selected states. Boy, that’s a lot of data!

You might want to go back and Revise Selections (there’s a button at the top of the report to do this). There you’ll see the many, many data points for your selection (if you chose Achievement Data, there are A LOT). Unclick the ones you don’t really want (perhaps some older years, or different grade levels, depending on your need).

HELPFUL HINT: If you unclick the “parent” category, it will automatically unclick all of the elements under that category. For example, if you just want the test scores for Children with Disabilities, unselect each assessment’s parent category, then go back in and click on the Children with Disabilities item only for each assessment you want to see.

Click Display Report again with your revised selections, and you’ll get a much more manageable report that you can view online or download as an Excel file.

ED Data Express also includes Definitions, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), additional Resources for educational data, and general information about the data collection and use. You must agree to the terms of data usage before you can create your data displays (which is only fair, really).

If you love data, you could probably spend all day on this site learning about how different groups of students are faring in schools across the country. Check it out at, and share it with your networks on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, email, and more using the Share button on the top right of the screen.

If you don’t love data . . . what? Come talk to me. I have some very interesting things to show you.


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NOTICE: NICHCY is going away, but its resources are not. Find hundreds of legacy NICHCY publications, as well as our training curriculum on IDEA 2004, in the Center for Parent Information and Resources' Library at This website will remain available until September 30, 2014. After that date, web visitors will be automatically redirected to