Microsoft Power BI


  

Power BI calculated columns and measures can be confusing at first - they seem to do almost the same thing. In the following example we use some simple school attendance data to explain why calculated columns and measures are different and we show you which one to choose when you want to do more analysis of your data.

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Power BI is a great tool for visualising data and finding useful insights, particularly when you use it to then share your insights with colleagues and other stakeholders.

This student satisfaction report is an example of an interactive report built on top of some very simple data in MS Excel. The report illustrates a couple of fundamental lessons:

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This simple interactive dashboard will answer that question. It uses data from the Department for Education’s longitudinal education outcomes dataset. It tracks graduates 1 year, 3 years and 5 years after graduation and includes a breakdown for broad subject area and university.

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This is another look at how you could build a very simple Power BI report to track student performance.

There are two tables of data - both imported into Power BI Desktop from an Excel Workbook. Power BI Desktop automatically joins the two tables on StudentId:

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Here's how you can use the slicer visualization and a simple measure to filter time based data. The data is basic school attendance data.

There are two tables - Students and StudentAttendance. Not surprisingly, there’s a one to many relationship between them on StudentId. Every student gets two attendance marks a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. ‘P’ for present, ‘U’ for unauthorised absence and ‘A’ for authorised absence.

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This is one way of looking at student performance in Power BI. It’s a simple report built on top of single table of data about students and how they score in assessments.

Three things about the dashboard are worth noting:

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A quick way to get started with Microsoft Power BI is to connect to data in MS Excel spreadsheets. Spreadsheet data is easy to import and it means you can focus your efforts on dashboard design - prototyping ideas before sharing them with colleagues.

Here are five things to think about when using Microsoft Power BI with data stored in MS Excel spreadsheets:

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Schools that want to use the data they collect to raise teaching quality and improve learner outcomes may face particular challenges:

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The real challenge for any school that wants to use a tool like Microsoft Power BI to analyse and report on data is how to get at data that is spread across different application databases - you want a solution that doesn’t involve lots of copy and pasting between different spreadsheets.

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How easy it to compare the earnings of graduates from different universities? Does a computer science graduate from Durham University make more money than one from the the University of Sheffield?

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Schools that want to use the data they collect to raise teaching quality and improve learner outcomes may face particular challenges:

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The Power BI Radar Chart is a nice way to show how a set of values varies across multiple categories. And you can add further sets - so one radar chart shows two or more sets of values against the spokes. You then see at a glance how the different sets of values compare.

I used the radar chart to compare ‘predicted’ and ‘actual’ attainment levels in different subjects for school students. The table of sample data is shown below. The attainment levels are in one column and the type - ‘Predicted’ or ‘Actual’ is in another column. I’m interested in the average predicted and the average actual attainment level for each subject category.

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You can use Microsoft Power BI to turn your in-house data into interactive data dashboards and reports. It’s now one of the top two or three business intelligence tools on the market and it’s a great solution for schools that want to get more value from the data they collect about students and learning.

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It’s easy to get hold of schools performance data about schools in England - data is available for download from the Department for Education website. This post uses the latest end of Key Stage data - the provisional dataset for 2016/17. You can find it here.

What’s the best way to visualise school performance data with Power BI? What is the best way to give the non expert - someone who doesn’t know too much about schools and statistics - an overview of school performance in their home town?

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The scatter chart in the last Power BI blog post is nice but it doesn’t tell you everything you need to know about the relationship between % free school meals and GCSE performance at the end of Key Stage 4.

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A scatter chart in Microsoft Power BI a great way to the relationship between two values. You plot 2 sets of numbers as a series of xy points and then look for patterns in the data - trends, clusters and outliers.

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This is one way you can use the cumulative sales total measure I described in the previous post. I’ve used a bar chart visual to show how the total value of course enquiries, enrolments and lost opportunities change over time.

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This is a nice example of how to create a measure in Power BI to calculate running or cumulative totals. It’s a refinement of a post I did on the SkillsLogic blog about using calculated columns to calculate running totals. In this example I’ve gone a step further used a measure - so the running totals change when the user applies filters to the report.

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Progress 8 is a new way of measuring secondary school performance in England. It was introduced in 2016 and it aims to capture the progress a student makes between the end of primary school and the end of secondary school.

Progress 8 scores are calculated for each individual student and then averaged across the the school to get a single Progress 8 score for the school.

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