Visualizing Student Records to Address Data Integrity In 2008, I was tasked with taking over the management of a Student Information System for a charter school district, spanning 2 schools and ~700 students. A challenge of this project was to get quickly up to speed on the system, making major configuration changes for an upcoming school year, and to address many data integrity issues throughout the system caused by invalid system configurations that were exacerbated by undocumented organizational workflow processes. For example, the student enrollments table suffered from a significant amount of invalid data. For example, many students were enrolled in the same grade for two years in a row and students were missing their enrollment records. This prevented the student information system (PowerSchool) from functioning properly - from generating report cards, to calculating attendance, to scheduling for upcoming classes.
In order to address this, I chose to plot the enrollments in a visual manner, in order to develop a clear understanding of the scope and magnitude of the task at hand. Importantly, developing the visual reference was helpful in communicating the nature and consequences of a highly technical issue to board members, administrative, and office staff.