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iSchool Team Wins Two Awards in Competition to Make K-12 School Data Understandable

The 2015 federal education law known as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) required states and school districts to make more than 2,000 data points about their public school systems available to families in a concise, understandable and uniform format.

Easier to legislate than do.

Yet a team of students from the College of Information Studies took home two awards in a competition this month sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education and the nonprofit Data Quality Campaign to create user-friendly ways to convey this type of information.

The team of James Chi, Jessica Yuan, Kunal Eapen and Alisha Gonsalves won both the User Experience and the People's Choice awards at the Nov. 8–9 ESSA Report Card Design Challenge for a “dashboard” that presents school information to parents as an intuitive journey, rather than just a mass of data.

Six other iSchool students also represented UMD at the competition: Lacey Sabado, Parv Rustogi and Vijit Bhati, who designed a parent-focused, easy Google-like interface with customized insights widgets; and Jaina Gandhi, Sahar Zavaree and Akanksha Shrivastava, who designed conversational and personal dashboard that allows parents to conduct research about schools.

All designs and prototypes from the competition will be openly licensed and shared via the department’s website as a resource for states, organizers said.

Maryland Today is produced by the Office of Strategic Communications for the University of Maryland community weekdays during the academic year, except for university holidays.