Innovative Graphics for NCES Online Reports

Research Project

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has moved the distribution of its reports from paper to online. A benefit of this change is that new ways of displaying data in the reports are more easily available. For a start, the need for terseness is lessened, so that graphical displays can be more abundant and need not be limited to the most efficient representation or only the most important findings. The new technology for information delivery can also provide a way to deliver a greater variety of data displays. For example, dynamic graphics and those that invite viewer interaction become possible when a report is not limited to paper. Such a complete change in reporting methods provides an opportunity to rethink the role of graphics in the information that NCES provides to all its constituencies. Therefore NCES asked the National Institute of Statistical Sciences (NISS) to convene a panel of technical experts to advise them on what issues should be considered when making the change, including guidance on technology, statistical, and design issues. This report is the result of that panel’s work.

Project Goal: 

NCES asked the National Institute of Statistical Sciences (NISS) to convene a panel to make recommendations on how to best accomplish the goal of reaching and engaging diverse audiences with graphics. (The Charge to the panel appears in Appendix A of the full text report.) The resulting panel contained experts in statistical graphics, design, computing technologies, and human perception. This report contains the results of the panel’s deliberations and recommendations, both about graphics and how the agency might navigate its path to change.

Research Team: 

Daniel B. Carr, (Professor of Statistics at George Mason University and a Fellow of the American Statistical Association)
Nola du Toit, (Senior Research Methodologist and Data Visualization Specialist at NORC at the University of Chicago)
Miriah Meyer, (Associate Professor, School of Computing at the University of Utah; and faculty member in Scientific
Computing and Imaging Institute)
Jonathan Schwabish, (Senior Fellow, Urban Institute)
Leland Wilkinson, (Chief Scientist at H2O and Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at the University of Illinois Chicago)
S. Lynne Stokes, (Professor, Department of Statistical Science and Director, Data Science Institute, Southern Methodist
University, and Senior Fellow at NISS)
Brian Habing, (Associate Director for Education Research at NISS, and Associate Professor of Statistics at University
of South Carolina)
Alexi Albert, (Research Assistant, National Institute of Statistical Science)
Ya Mo, (Research Fellow, National Institute of Statistical Sciences; Assistant Professor, Boise State University)