School data tutorials

[cross-posted at LeaderTalk]

Even when principals and teachers have access to data, they often aren't sure what to do with it. That's why CASTLE (okay, it was me!) created School Data Tutorials, a web site intended to help K-12 educators work with raw student and school data.

The tutorials on the web site highlight many of the Excel skills that are helpful when working with building- and district-level data. The tutorials are targeted at data managers, principals, guidance counselors, teachers, and other school personnel who have the responsibility for collecting, analyzing, and reporting K-12 performance data (which is just about everyone these days!). You will see that the tutorials are much like the ones created by Atomic Learning (they trained us!) but are focused on data-driven decision-making needs of educators rather than being generic.

Below are the four sets of tutorials we recommend for every teacher and administrator. If every educator knew how to do these four things, schools' capacity to do some basic monitoring of student progress would be greatly enhanced. They take just over half an hour to watch once, and of course they can be viewed as many times as necessary to accomplish mastery.

Many more tutorials are available on the site, including instructions on how to make your own data collection templates. Let me know if you feel empowered after watching these!

Freeze panes

  • Freezing rows to remain visible
  • (1:11)
  • Freezing columns to remain visible
  • (0:40)
  • Freezing both rows and columns to remain visible
  • (0:49)


    • Sorting data using a single criterion
    • (3:04)
    • Sorting data using multiple criteria
    • (2:29)
    • Sorting data with multiple header rows
    • (1:27)


      • Filtering data with AutoFilter
      • (1:13)
      • Analyzing data with AutoFilter
      • (1:45)
      • Using Custom AutoFilter to filter numerical values less or greater than a specified value
      • (1:41)
      • Turning filters off
      • (0:34)
      • Printing datasets from AutoFilter
      • (1:39)
      • Copying just the dataset obtained from AutoFilter
      • (2:23)
      • Using the Esc (Escape) key to clear selections and copy another dataset
      • (1:16)

        Conditional formatting

        • Changing a numerical cell's color with single conditional formatting conditions
        • (2:17)
        • Changing a numerical cell's color with multiple conditional formatting conditions
        • (1:50)
        • Changing a text cell's color with single conditional formatting conditions
        • (0:55)
        • Changing a text cell's color with multiple conditional formatting conditions
        • (2:53)
        • Changing a cell's color with calculated value conditions
        • (3:58)

          Note that you may need to turn off your browser's pop-up blocker

          or install the latest Flash plug-in to view these tutorials. Happy viewing!

          Unraveling the mystery behind dogs' floppy ears

          Dogs' floppy ears may be part of why they and other domesticated animals love humans so much.

          Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash
          Surprising Science
          • Nearly all domestic animals share several key traits in addition to friendliness to humans, traits such as floppy ears, a spotted coat, a shorter snout, and so on.
          • Researchers have been puzzled as to why these traits keep showing up in disparate species, even when they aren't being bred for those qualities. This is known as "domestication syndrome."
          • Now, researchers are pointing to a group of a cells called neural crest cells as the key to understanding domestication syndrome.
          Keep reading Show less

          Russian reporters discover 101 'tortured' whales jammed in offshore pens

          Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.

          Politics & Current Affairs
          • Russian news network discovers 101 black-market whales.
          • Orcas and belugas are seen crammed into tiny pens.
          • Marine parks continue to create a high-price demand for illegal captures.
          Keep reading Show less

          A dark matter hurricane is crashing into Earth

          Giving our solar system a "slap in the face."

          Surprising Science
          • A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
          • It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
          • Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
          Keep reading Show less