Hi there! We are Enlighten, a groups of master students from CMU HCII


Enlighten would like to thank Renaissance Learning for their support in this project. The Renaissance team has provided us with countless resources, valuable guidance, and excellent engagement from a host of internal personnel. We look forward to continuing our work with Renaissance, and maintaining our track record of a strong working relationship.

We would especially like to thank Eric Stickney, David Butz, and Rob Andrews who have kept up constant communication, contributing direction and feedback throughout the course of the project. We are also highly grateful for Carol Dorn’s contributions, having done nearly all of our participant recruiting for us. Our work would not be possible without them. We would also like to thank our mentors, Ken Koedinger, Bruce McLaren and Timmy Burkhart, for giving us assistance with all aspects of our work.

Executive Summary

Enlighten, a team of Carnegie Mellon University students, have partnered with Renaissance Learning, Inc to develop a dashboard that allows school or district administrators to compare achievement to demographically similar schools. Over the course of the past seven months, we have researched, prototyped, developed, and iterated to bring the Enlighten Dashboard into fruition.

Between January and May 2019, Enlighten has conducted our first round of research and found that data coordinators are interested in having access to comparison with similar schools mainly based on ethnicities, poverty level, special education, and school size. We also found that all eight of our interviewees would like to connect with similar schools to discuss decision making strategies that work in their context. A major component of our research involves mining Star assessment and demographic data to inform a model defining what it means for two schools to be “similar”, and to find correlations between demographic factors and growth. We have found that there are some demographic aspects that do correlate with score differences, such as percent of students with Free or Reduced Lunch (an indicator of poverty levels), and some do not, such as Teacher-to-Student Ratio.

Since May, we created numerous prototypes and iterated constantly in response to results from over 25 hours of user testing sessions. From beginning to end, we’ve gone through a host of changes, including changing our Similarity Score from a 100-scale to 10-scale, and adding a Table View for easier data comparison.

The initial prompt for this project focused more on providing a data analytics tool to administrators, where they could learn information about their school in context. We found time and time again, that administrators want to use this product for more than analysis--they want to take action and make changes at their schools. Allowing administrators to connect with and learn from other schools is not only our way of helping administrators create meaningful change, it’s also one of our most highly praised features. The Enlighten Dashboard is a novel platform for administrators to compare, contextualize, and connect to schools within their state and across the country. We believe that the Enlighten Dashboard will empower educators to better work together in accelerating learning for all students.