The Power $ Efficiency of a Data Warehouse

Does this happen in your school district?
 
The Scenario
A director of curriculum and instruction asked each school lead teacher to create a Google spreadsheet of student scores. The file needed to contain each student enrolled in the school Grade 3-8 and list last year’s reading, math, and science score information, the EVAAS Projected score, the Check-in percent correct with the subscores for CI #1 and #2, and I-Ready scores and subscores.
 
This information would be used to help identify students at-risk and to create remediation groups.
The lead teachers started the task and found that it was a very time-consuming task.
 
The Solution
One lead teacher reached out to me and asked if any of this information was in the district’s new data mart system. Yes, all of the data had been uploaded to the system and was easily put into a spreadsheet report by writing SQL code to pull the data from the tables.
Consequently, WITHIN a few hours each school had reports of all of their students with all of the required data.
Exporting the information from the database saved the lead teachers about 15 hours of work EACH!
 
Critical Question
Can you collect all of that information on your hundreds /thousands of students as efficiently as a school district with a data warehouse?
 
A hosted database is the answer. Upload spreadsheets, link the data with student number, wirte simple SQL code using a query tool and run the code and download your spreadsheet with the merged data that your administrators and teachers need.
 
A databses and attached reporting solution does not need to cost tens of thousands of dollars. It can be done for most school districts for less than $10,000. And Data Smart LLC can provide the training so that the data warehouse can be managed in-house by your school district data stewards.  

Oracle Application Express 20.1 Version Released

Oracle continues to support the ongoing improvement of Application Express (aka APEX). This application building tool is a low-code environment that makes building database-driven applications easier than writing all of the HTML and SQL code from scratch. Also, because it is embedded within the Oracle database, there is no need for add-on reporting tools. This low-code development tool saves hundreds of hours in development time and is very versatile.

For example, NC DPI uses APEX for the development of its EDDIE system.
(See http://apps.schools.nc.gov/ords/f?p=125:1)

This new version includes an enhanced search feature for its reports, responsive report widths in its interactive reports, and an expanded library of graphing and charting types.
To see more about its features go to this URL.  
https://apex.oracle.com/en/platform/features/whats-new/

Data Smart LLC uses APEX to build custom student reporting systems for school districts. Other applications created include a student performance recording for direct daily measurement (DDM), a team meeting recording system, and a curriculum development tool. Within the “family’ of applications, all data can be combined and accessed for reporting and analysis.

Considering a Data System?

Recently, I was asked what is the most cost-efficient way to provide multi-year data storage and be able to access it for creating reports. Four questions come to mind which need to be answered before providing a database recommendation.

Questions:

1: Will the data need to be accessed by users in various sites across the district, rather than one person at a central site?

2: How many users do you anticipate connecting to or viewing the data?

3: Do you want a unified system which would be a database AND a way to report the data? Or do you want separate database storage and a separate reporting tool?

4: what is your budget?

Answers:

Option 1 – Single user, no budget then MS ACCESS will do the job.

Option 2 – Multiple users, low budget: then a self-hosted database such as MS SQL, MySQL, or Oracle XE Express. There are free tools which can be used “read-only” to query the data and make basic reports

Option 3 – Multiple users, low budget (Less than $10,000 and no per-user fee), cloud-hosted and a query/reporting tool. My choice would be a host Oracle database with Application Express for query and reporting. Unlimited users can be added AT NO ADDITIONAL COST. Users can have various roles and permissions to view and manipulate data.

Option 4 – Multiple users, high budget (over $30,000 and per-user fees), cloud-hosted and a separate reporting tool, which has the per-user fee, I would recommend a hosted database and an add-on reporting tool. For example, a hosted database may cost $1,500 per year and then a user fee might be $10-$20 per user PER MONTH. So for 250 viewers (teachers) the cost at $10/month would be over $30,000 per year.

I recommend option 3, which is what Data Smart LLC provides to school districts. Data Smart LLC does all of the database management, data uploads, report tweaking, and analysis reports as part of its single fee.