A new way to look at historical data


Districts in the Data Viz Starter Pack have their key data systems connected to Google Data Studio via Sheets and Cloud SQL. One of the data sets we have is current grades data. This is a data set that is refreshed nightly with the current grades for all students. It is great to know how a student or subset of students are performing, but recently one of our schools wanted to dig a little deeper. Ednovate was curious to look at how their grades has changed over time. This can be difficult to do because while student information systems capture marking period grades (quarter, semester, etc), they do not show current gradebook data changes over time. To respond to their needs, we can now snapshot any data set giving the analyst a view into how that data has changed.

Google Apps Script

Apps Script is a scripting language based on Javascript and is deeply integrated into G Suite. Scripts are run in a serverless environment which means all you need to do is write the code and hit execute. We frequently have App Scripts attached to the Data Viz Starter Pack provided Sheets that handle interacting with APIs, transforming the data, and loading it to Sheets and Cloud SQL.

For Ednovate, they now have a Student Grades: Current | Snapshots data set that contains snapshots of their grades data taken every week. Every Monday morning, a new worksheet is created that contains the current date in the worksheet name and the contents of their current grades data set is copied over. This gives a nice point in time capture of the data before it is refreshed again the next day.

Their Director of Data Strategy and Analytics, Nicole Page, can now see how grades data has changed week-over-week and build the data dashboards she needs to present her findings to her team.

We are excited to solve this common paint point for our data analysts, look forward to seeing what they build, and hope this inspires others to leverage tools such as Apps Script in their environment. Sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Facebook to hear the latest updates as the Data Viz Starter Pack grows!

Marcos Alcozer