About the Book


This book came together after a series of conversations among the others (and others) about our frustrations with the lack of information available about how to do the real work behind education data analysis. In 2015, we were happy to be invited by the Brown Center Chalkboard at Brookings to discuss those ideas in a series of posts:

From these articles, and more conversation, we decided to put together a book that filled what we saw was a real gap in practical advice on how to do the work that needs to get done inside education agencies to turn those many data collections into information that can inform decisions and return value to educators, students, and the public.

Education Data Done Right: Lessons from the Trenches of Applied Data Science


Across the country hundreds of data scientists and analysts are working for thousands of education agencies trying to help schools, school leaders, and education systems as a whole function more effectively. The work they do is critical to everything from scheduling classes and evaluating programs, to managing enrollments, strategic planning, and making the laws that shape our public education system at large.

This book is for them. For their work. For the struggle.

Lots of pundits and researchers have ideas about how education data work should be done and who should do it. Many of their ideas are disseminated widely. But, there are far fewer places for education analysts themselves to share their ideas, to describe their challenges, to cover their efforts to do good science in the everyday.

We wanted to bring the voices and the work these folks do to to the forefront, so others among them could learn from the hard fought advances they’ve made and that benefit us all.

This book is by folks who’ve been agency analysts for folks who are agency analysts.

And we hope it is just the beginning.

Suggested Citation

Geller, Wendy, Cratty, Dorothyjean, and Knowles, Jared. 2019. Education Data Done Right: Lessons from the Trenches of Applied Data Science. Victoria. Leanpub. Available online: www.eddatadoneright.com

Table of Contents




Metadata and Business Rules


An Analyst’s Guide to IT


Data Requests: You Can Make Them Useful (we swear)


Politics and Data Driven Decision Making


Moments of Truth: Why Calculating Descriptive Statistics Is Actually Some of the Most Important Work You’ll Do


Applying Tools of the Trade: Descriptive Data Commands in Context