Finding the Path

When secondary students complete their courses and accumulate credits, they leave a trail of data behind them.  As these same students consider their course options for the the next year, they are making choices about the pathway they will follow.  These pathways become easier to see in the following visualization.

These pathways are easier to see with the following visualization that I adapted from the work of Kerry Rodden for an education data context.  This visualization was prepared for Karen Robson, Department of Sociology McMaster University, who will be presenting at the Canadian Sociological Association (part of the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences) on “Practical Advice on Communicating Sociological Research”, May 30th.  The  fictional cohort data was constructed and presented in a way that would allow the user to explore student pathways:

  • The inner most circle represents courses that have been completed in Grade 9.
  • Each larger circle describes the following year: grade 10, grade 11 and grade 12.
  • Each segment within a circle describes a course type (academic, applied, university, college, open, workplace etc.) and is labeled in the legend. “End” means the fictional student was no longer in the school at that point.
  • As your mouse hovers over each segment of a ring, the percentage of all students following that pathway is calculated in the centre.
  • A breadcrumb trail is created at the top, highlighting the pathway you have selected.
  • The larger the segment, the greater the number of fictional students that are represented.

Click on the image to play with the interactive version.

                       Exploring Student Pathways

It would be interesting to see what proportions emerge from real cohort data or how those proportions might differ according to student characteristics.

If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.

Henry David Thoreau

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