Talking with Teachers, Administrators, and Parents: Preferences for Visual Displays of Education Data

Charlotte Y. Alverson, Scott H. Yamamoto


The purpose of this study was to learn from educational stakeholders what characteristics they like and dislike when viewing graphs of post-school outcomes data. We conducted six, 1-hour focus groups with teachers, administrators, and parents in which we distributed four stimuli graphs—horizontal grouped bars, horizontal stacked bars, vertical stacked columns, and vertical grouped columns – to solicit participants’ preferences for data displayed graphically. Our findings indicate that multiple factors contributed to participants’ stated preferences for one graphic display over another. These factors include ease of understanding information displayed in the graph, familiarity with the display, comfort, as well as speed and habit for administrators. We discuss implications for practitioners, identify areas for further research, and recommend considerations when designing graphs for educational stakeholders.

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Journal of Education and Training Studies  ISSN 2324-805X (Print)   ISSN 2324-8068 (Online)

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