The Case

The Lake Central School Corporation was at a crossroads in 2012. The district was high performing, as evidenced by Lake Central High School’s Top 20 Indiana ranking from U.S. News and World Report among nearly 400 schools in the state. But administrators knew that among fierce competition from other districts, the 10,000-student district needed to do a better job at using data to keep improving.

The Challenge

Accurately identifying students who could be candidates for Advanced Placement courses was a critical challenge for the district. High schools across the nation are measured by how prepared their graduates are for college. Sean Begley, the freshman center principal at Lake Central High School, said there are guidelines to determine – based on a student’s PLAN scores – whether a ninth- or tenth-grader would be a candidate for an AP course. It’s useful to be able to recruit those students for AP courses and exams and it is important to be able to easily identify those students who might have slipped through the cracks otherwise. But the process of compiling and organizing the data to identify these students took a lot of time for Begley to build in Excel.

The Collaboration

In June 2013, a few months after the district started using AllofE’s Matrix, a comprehensive data warehousing system, Begley and other administrators began working with developers to build a custom AP Predictor interface within Matrix. AllofE’s technical team was already importing Lake Central’s PLAN assessment data into the system, along with nearly a dozen other types of state and other assessments. AllofE configured the interface to average a student’s PLAN score and compare it with guidelines the ACT provides to determine the probability the student could pass an AP exam. For example, a student’s average math and science PLAN score would determine if the student potentially could pass an AP Physics exam. The predictive results are instantly calculated based on any new PLAN data in Matrix.

The Clarity

In addition to allowing teachers to use the AP Predictor interface to recruit students for courses, Lake Central administrators will use it to help with broader planning at the high school, including determining how to staff AP courses, a budget for course materials and scheduling of AP classes.”We have to get beyond the data just being there and figure out a way to get information from it,” Begley said, adding that it’s most important for teachers to use the data to reach out to kids who may have never thought about taking an AP course for various reasons. Realizing a student’s potential and then working to find a way to bring it out of a student is a major key to education.

“We have to get beyond the data just being there and figure out a way to get information from it."