Kauffman Foundation researchers know well that public education records in Missouri and Kansas come swarming at anyone who tries to take a look.
A new website, EdWise, at www.kauffman.org/edwise, aims to help people sort and compare the data contained in some 14 million records.
Three years have been invested in Tuesday’s launch of the site and it’s just a start, said Christopher Laubenthal, a senior data analyst at the foundation.
The goal, he said, is “one data source with a suite of tools that people interact with intuitively.”
The site is starting with two. One creates maps displaying clickable information by district or school for many choices of data, from demographics to test performance to graduates’ post-high-school placement.
The second tool sorts through multiple characteristics to aid researchers, school officials or parents in identifying schools or districts they want to compare or examine more closely.
The site draws on data sets available to the public that don’t contain private information or data specific to students or teachers.
Where appropriate, the site will show Kansas and Missouri records side by side, but in many situations the results appear separately because differences in the systems — including test performance — don’t allow for valid state-to-state comparison.
The states don’t provide the same amounts or categories of data either.
The site will continue evolving, updating as new records are recorded, adding functions and responding to user feedback, Laubenthal said.
More accessible data “helps get conversations started,” he said, and helps everyone “ask bigger questions.”