Interactive Monday: What's the Level of Education in Your County?

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Sep 16, 2018
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Chart of the Week, Current Events, Research, Interactive, Parent Conversations, Paying for College

This week's interactive comes courtesy of Overflow Solutions and provides a county-level look at educational attainment. 

This tool allows users to compare educational attainment of every county against other counties, the states, and the nation overall. The default is set to Los Angeles, CA and Cook County, IL, but if your students are on a desktop, they can easily adjust to view data from different counties and states. Here's a few notes about the interactive:

  • The data is collected from the US Census Bureau, 2010-2014 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates Table. 
  • Users can change the filter on the right side by both county and state. By removing the filters completely, you can see the national average data.
  • To compare to the State averages, have students select ALL for County and the specific State name. 
  • Users can export the data into a PDF or JPG file from the download button on the bottom right.
  • Also on the bottom right, users can "undo" or "redo" their actions by clicking the left or right arrows, respectively. There is also a "share" button so students can share the updated link directly.

Before you have students explore the interactive, you can open up with a discussion that includes the following question:

  • If you interviewed 100 random people in our community and asked them, "What is your level of educational attainment?" or "How much schooling have you completed?", how many people out of 100 would respond:
    • Less than 9th grade
    • 9th to 12 grade, but with no diploma
    • High school graduate
    • Some college, but no degree
    • Associate's degree
    • Bachelor's degree
    • Graduate or professional degree

One way to implement this is to explain the opener while a projection on the board is posted with the question and seven options. Allow students to think and jot down their estimations (making sure the amounts add up to 100!) for about 2 minutes. Then have students pair up and discuss their estimations and reasoning behind their numbers. Then after a whole class wrap-up, have students access the interactive.

Here's a simple comparison of Tim's home county (Bergen County, NJ) compared to the national average. He was surprised that only about 1/2 of the adults in his county had bachelor and graduate degrees. 

A few questions to get the analytical thinking firing: 

  • Compare your COUNTY to your STATE data.
    • Looking at your COUNTY data, which 2 categories have the highest percentages?
    • Which categories did your county have a higher percentage compared to your state?
    • Which categories did your county have a lower percentage compared to your state?
    • Name 3 possible factors that could account for these differences.
  • Compare your COUNTY to the NATION data.
    • Which categories did your county have a higher percentage compared to the nation?
    • Which categories did your county have a lower percentage compared to the nation?
    • Name 3 possible factors that could account for these differences.
  • Compare your COUNTY data to your warm-up discussion hypotheses.
    • How close were your approximations to the actual data of your community?
    • After comparing your initial ideas to the collected data, create a three-sentence conclusion about your community's educational attainment.

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Looking for more interactives? We have almost 40 of them in our Interactive Library

Have other ideas on how you might use this interactive?  Share it in the FinLit Fanatics group (must be an educator to participate). 

 

 

 

About the Author

Abby Alcala

After graduating with a statistics major at UC Davis, Abby set off to Massachusetts to teach algebra 1 and geometry and enjoyed working with the curious and creative minds of high school students. She is passionate about helping students recognize and develop their strengths and leadership skills. She was instrumental in taking the high school cheer team to regional competitions, as well as elevating school spirit and pride through creating unity amongst the study body and educators. Back in the Bay Area, Abby is excited to work with other educators to build and share content to enhance the teaching experience in applied math and finance.