Education Counts Help

For help with Education Counts, please send an e-mail to library@epe.org or call (301) 280-3100 and ask for the Research Center.

Welcome to Education Counts, your comprehensive source of state education policy data. Following is a brief description of the steps to take to create your own custom tables, graphs, and maps with Education Counts data.

The database compiles state-level information on K-12 education from sources such as the U.S. Department of Education, Market Data Retrieval, and education policy organizations like the Education Commission of the States and the National Center for Educational Accountability. Education Counts also includes more than 250 indicators from Education Week’s annual policy surveys, providing several years of the data Education Week has collected for the Quality Counts and Technology Counts reports.

In just five steps you can create custom tables, graphs, and maps using the Education Counts tool. You can track your progress through the five steps with the graphic at the top of each screen. The steps are:

1. Select indicators
2. Select years
3. Select states
4. View table
5. Create maps and graphs

Step 1: Select indicators

First, choose which indicators you want to include in your table. The Education Counts tool is designed so that you first build a table of data, and then you can create a graph or a map based on one of the indicators in your table.

You can view indicators in two ways, either by category or alphabetically. To view indicators by category, click the “By Category” button. Then, click on a category and a subcategory and you will see the indicators available for your table. You can select indicators across multiple categories. To view indicators alphabetically, click the “Alphabetical” button and then click on the different letters. You can also perform a keyword search of indicator names by entering a term or phrase in the search box and clicking the “Search” button. For more information about an indicator, or to see how it was measured, click on the question mark to the left of the indicator name and a pop-up window will display the indicator definition.

To add an indicator to your table, click on the box to the left of the indicator name. You can select as many indicators as you would like. Next, click on the “Add Selected Indicators” button; your chosen indicators will now appear in the “Selected Indicators” list to the right. To select more indicators from another category, click on the “All Categories” link to return to the main list. You can also find additional indicators using the alphabetical listing or keyword search described above.

You can remove indicators from the “Selected Indicators” list in two ways: either by removing all of your selected indicators at the same time by clicking the “Remove All” button, or by removing indicators one at a time by clicking the trash can icon to the left of each indicator name.

When you are satisfied with the indicators you have added to the “Selected Indicators” list, click on the “Select Years” button to move to the next step.

Step 2: Select Years

Next, choose the years of data in which you are interested. Each indicator you chose in the first step will be displayed under each year for which data are available. To select a year, click the box to the left of the year. You can select multiple years of data for your table.

Across most indicators there will be variation as to which years of data are available because indicators are compiled from many different sources. For example, let’s say you select “4th grade math - percent at or above proficient” and “White/black achievement gap for 4th grade math” under the student achievement category and the NAEP subcategory. When you click “Select Years” you will see that data are available for the “White/black achievement gap for 4th grade math” indicator for both 2000 and 2003, but for the “4th grade math - percent at or above proficient” indicator, data are only available for 2003.

During this step, if you decide to create a new table from scratch, click the “Start Over” button, which takes you back to the first step and removes all indicators you have selected. The “Back” button takes you to the step where you select indicators, while preserving the indicators you have already chosen. You can use the “Select All” and “Clear All” buttons to choose all years available, or to clear all of your selections.

When you have chosen all the years in which you are interested, click on the “Select States” button to move to the next step.

Step 3: Select States

Now choose which states you would like to display in your table. For most indicators, the Education Counts database includes data for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. A U.S. average or total is included in every table where it is available. By default, all states are selected. To clear a selection, click on the box to the left of the state name. You can use the “Select All” and “Clear All” buttons to choose all states and the District of Columbia, or to clear all of your selections.

During this step, if you decide to create a new table from scratch, click the “Start Over” button, which takes you back to the first step and removes all indicators you have selected. The “Back” button takes you to the step where you select which years you want to include in your table.

When you have selected all of the states in which you are interested, click on the “View Table” button to move to the next step.

Step 4: View Table

Here you see your created table with all the indicators you have selected for your chosen years and states. You can now modify the table as it is presented. First, you can add a title and/or a description to your table by entering text in the boxes labeled “Table Title” and “Table Description” and then clicking the “Update Table” button. Second, you can organize your table by indicator or by year by choosing either of the “Group by Year” or “Group by Indicator” options and clicking the “Update Table” button. Third, you can sort the table by any one of the indicators or by state name by clicking on the word “Sort” at the top of the column. Finally, you can view the table in a printer-friendly format or you can download the data into a spreadsheet by clicking on the links above the table on the right side.

Footnotes are shown as numbers to the right of the data points and are displayed at the bottom of the table. You can jump directly to the footnote by clicking on the number next to the data point. Also, for more information about any indicator, click on the indicator name in the table and a pop-up window will display the indicator definition and detailed source information.

During this step, if you decide to create a new table from scratch, click the “Start Over” button, which takes you back to the first step and removes all indicators you have selected. The “Back” button takes you to the step where you select the states you want to include in your table.

Step 5: Create Maps and Charts

At this point, you can convert the data from one indicator in your table into a graph or a map. For a graph, select “Create Graph” from the pull-down menu on the right and click the “Go” button. All the indicators in your table are now listed. Choose one of the indicators that you would like to graph by clicking the button to the left of the indicator name. Next, click the “Select Years” button. Now you will see all the years available for the indicator you have chosen to graph. Next, select as many years as you would like by clicking the box next to the indicator name. Then click the “View Graph” button. You can add a title and/or a description to your graph by entering text in the boxes labeled “Graph Title” and “Graph Description” and then clicking the “Update Graph” button. To save the graph, right-click on the graph and choose the “Save Image As…” option.

The process for creating a map is very similar to the steps for creating a graph, but you can only choose data from a single year to map. First, select “Create Map” from the pull-down menu to the right and click the “Go” button. You will now see a list of all indicators from your table and the years for which data are available. Select an indicator and the year of data you would like to include in your map by clicking on the button next to the indicator name. Next, click the “View Map” button. You can add a title and/or a description to your map by entering text in the boxes labeled “Map Title” and “Map Description” and then clicking the “Update Map” button. For a numeric indicator, the map is originally displayed in quartiles. You can change the ranges of the quartiles by entering new numbers in the upper-range boxes above the map and then clicking the “Update Map” button. To save the map, right-click on the map and choose the “Save SVG As…” option.

At any point in the process of creating a graph or a map you can choose the “Start Over” button, which takes you back to the first step and removes all indicators you have selected. You can also choose the “Back” button, which returns you to the previous screen, or the “Return to Table” button, which brings you back to the table you created.

Try an Example

If you go through the following example, you will create a table, graph, and map using Education Counts data on school construction.

1. Start at the main screen with the list of all categories. Select the “School climate” category.

2. Next choose the “Facilities” subcategory and add the following three indicators to the “Selected Indicators” list:

  • Amount dedicated to capital outlay or construction projects
  • State funds capital outlay of construction projects
  • State tracks condition of school facilities

3. Choose the data from 2004 for your table.

4. Choose all states for your table.

5. Now that the table is displayed, add a title and a description.

6. Create a graph showing the states that track the condition of school facilities.

7. Create a map showing how much the state provides for capital outlay or construction projects.

If your specific questions were not answered by this tutorial, please send an e-mail to: library@epe.org or call (301) 280-3100 and ask for the Research Center.