Tips for First-Time Users of WINSS Data Analysis

WINSS WINSS: Data Analysis

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To view statewide, district, or school data, click on the red WINSS "Data Analysis" ribbon ABOVE.


The next screen includes four main questions often asked by stakeholders working on school improvement. Available data about specific topics are organized according to the four main questions in the table below.

Main Question Data Topics (Beginning in Fall 2013, some links below will redirect to WISEdash.)
How well are students performing academically? Here you'll find data about whether students are meeting academic standards: test scores, grade advancement / retention, ACT, Advanced Placement Program Exams, graduation / high school completion, postgraduation plans and more.
What programs, staff, and money are available? Here you'll find data about school programs and resources that may have an impact on the success of students: course offerings and school-supported activities, staffing patterns, teacher qualifications, district revenue, district costs, and more.
What about attendance and behavior at school? Here you'll find data about standards of the heart and student behaviors that affect their success academically: attendance, truancy, student participation in school-supported activities, coursetaking, suspension rates, expulsion rates, weapon or drug related incidents, other infractions or offenses, dropouts, and more.
What are student/school demographics? Here you'll find data about student diversity which may have an impact on strategies and programs to help all students meet standards: enrollment by grade, gender, race/ethnicity, English language proficiency, disability status, primary disability, poverty status, and more.

After you click on one of the four main questions you will need to select a subquestion which will take you to information about a specific data topic. You will then see a page with a graph and table that include the most current available data about that subquestion.

Important: Beginning in Fall 2013, WINSS data topics will gradually begin migrating to WISEdash, DPI's new public data analysis portal. If you click on a link for a migrated data topic/question, then you will be redirected to WISEdash. WINSS to WISEdash transition updates will be posted on Changes to WINSS and Data Access.


Above each WINSS graph or table there is a set of user options. See Figure 1 for the typical set of user options.

Figure 1. Graph and Table Options

User Options

  • "Year" options allow you to focus on data for any specific year you choose. "Year" options appear unless "Compare To: Prior Years" is selected.
  • "School Type" or "Grade" options allow you to view or compare data for elementary, middle, and high school grades or grade ranges. Most District and State data pages have at least one of these sets of options. Some School pages have a "Grade" options row.
  • "View By" options allow you to view or compare data about performance and behavior by student group. Student data pages typically have these options.
  • "Compare To" options allow you to see trends over time, find out what is typical districtwide, statewide, or nationwide, and how other schools like or near your school are doing.
  • Additional options, e.g. "Subject" or "Level", appear depending on the subquestion.

To change graph/table options, select one of the active links in any row above the graph (Figure 1).


Figure 2.Navigation Between Schools and Useful Information

Left Nav Pane


To focus on a different school or district, switch organizational levels, or better understand the graphs and tables, select one of the options in the red column to the left of the graph. See Figure 2. Here you'll find a "Change school or district" link that takes you to the school search screen, "District/School home page" links that direct you to a wide range of information maintained by your school or district, a "Read about the data" link that explains how data were collected and how rates are calculated, a "Glossary" link that defines terms used on the page, and a "Download options" link that provides information about how to access and use WINSS download files. Also included are links to special features, if any, for this subquestion.

If you click on the "Change school or district" link, you will see a search screen. To view school or district data, fill in one of the boxes on the right. Type in a whole name or a part of a name. Next click on the "GO" button. If you have trouble finding your school or district, try typing in a part of the name, click on the first letter of the name, OR click on a CESA.

The database should return a list of schools or districts. Each school or district name is a hyperlink that will take you to pages where you can click on questions you want answered.


Below the graph and table are links to other DPI-sponsored reports for your school or district and to raw data files. See Figure 3. Reports include your school's "Adequate Yearly Progress Report", "School District Performance Report", and the "Special Education District Profile". You can download any or all data on WINSS for any specific WINSS subquestion for the "Year" you select by clicking on "Download raw data from this page" or "Download all school and district data statewide".

Figure 3. Links to Other District/School Reports and to Download Files

Other Report Links

To return to the four main questions, click on the red WINSS "Data Analysis" ribbon in the upper right-hand corner of each page.

WINSS data have distinct limits so you are encouraged to click on the links to district and school home pages on the upper left for more information about the school or district. You may also want to review other sources of school information.


  • Why can't I find data updates for the current school year?

    Most WINSS data are school year summary data so these data aren't collected until the summer or fall of the next school year. Examples include attendance, dropouts, graduates, retention, spending etc. Data are posted on WINSS after all data are received and certain validation and verification steps have been completed. You will normally find school year summary data on WINSS in the winter or spring of the following school year. This means, for example, that 2002-03 school summary data will be posted in the winter or spring of the 2003-04 school year. Some WINSS data are point-in-time data so are collected and typically reported during the current school year. Examples include 3rd Friday September enrollment and November statewide test results.

  • Can I use WINSS to compare districts or schools within my county, athletic conference, or CESA?

    Yes. Click on the "Compare To: Selected Districts/Schools" option above any WINSS graph. Follow the steps on the next page. Under "Step 1," if you want to view data about all districts or schools in the location, then select the second option, "Select all districts/schools in." Under "Step 2," select the location of interest and click on the "Go" button. (The settings should be defaulting to your county, district's basketball/track conference, or CESA, but you can select any county, athletic conference, or CESA.) After clicking on the "Go" button, the screen will refresh with tabular summary data for your district or school and other districts in the selected location.

    For publication or analysis purposes it may be useful to store the data in another format. Most WINSS data pages include a link at the bottom labeled "Download Raw Data From This Page." Click on the link to download a CSV version of the data. Alternatively, if you are using Internet Explorer as your web browser, you should be able to copy and paste the table directly into an Excel file. You can also save the page, change

    the filename extension to ".xls," and open the file in Excel.

    Ranking schools and districts is complex and depends a lot on the school characteristics and measures of success that you consider most important. Everything that is important is not measured, and some things that are measured may be less important than other things. For more information about the Similar Schools/Districts Tool, go to Understanding the Similar Schools/Similar Districts Pages on WINSS.


    See also Using Scatterplots on WINSS - Teacher Qualifications.

  • Can I copy WINSS graphs into other electronic documents?

    Some users like to copy WINSS graphs into reports or handouts. Since the WINSS rewrite was implemented in 2010, WINSS graphs are no longer simple images so, to copy/paste, users should follow these steps: (1) right click on the graph, (2) click on the "Toolbar" option, which will add a row of icons to the top of the graph, (3) click on the second icon from the left in the row, which will copy the graph to the clipboard, and (4) select the first option, "bitmap" and then paste the graph into the desired document. Paint, Word, or other graphics programs can be used to crop images if desired. When using Word, doubleclick on the pasted image then click on the "Crop" option under "Size" on upper right side of the screen.

  • Why might graphs disappear when I select certain user options?

    Some topics include several complex user options. Complex options are those which call for the presentation of multiple categories, levels, or years of data in a single graph. Examples of complex options include "Subject: All Tested Subjects", "View By: Race/Ethnicity", or "Compare To: Prior Years". When you select several complex options simultaneously, graphs become complicated and difficult to interpret. In these cases, the selected options are reflected in data tables without accompanying graphs. Graphs will reappear if you select simpler options instead of one or more of the complex options. Examples of simpler options include "Subject: Reading", "Level: Advanced + Proficient", "View By: All Students" or "Compare To: Current Data Only".

  • Can I download WINSS data?

    Yes. You can download all data on WINSS for specific WINSS questions or topics. Often more data are provided in the download file than on the screen because the download files are not restricted by the same horizontal screen-space limitations. For more information about data download options available see WINSS Download Options.

    Tip: Many users choose the "Download Raw Data From This Page" alternative to download data for all schools or all districts within a CESA (or county or athletic conference or statewide) because the data file is more customizable. Click on "Compare To: . . . Selected Districts/Schools" (above the graph or table on almost every WINSS page). Follow the steps on the next screen. Under Step 1, if you want data for all districts/schools in a CESA, then select the second option, "Select all districts/schools in." Under Step 2, select any CESA, and click on the "Go" button. The screen will refresh with tabular summary data for all districts/schools in the selected CESA. If this is the data you want, then scroll to the bottom of the page and click on "Download Raw Data From This Page." If not, then choose the options of interest above the table before downloading.

  • Where can I find the results of WINSS online surveys (e.g. School Climate Surveys for Students and Staff, Characteristics of Successful Schools Surveys, etc)?

    It is possible to view survey results by going to the survey page. Usernames or passwords may be required to identify the specific survey of interest. These surveys are designed for local use only and are optional. Many schools and districts do not use the surveys. Surveys can be started at any time and multiple surveys can be done by the same school in a single year. This type of optional survey data is not provided in the WINSS Data Analysis Section because the graphs and tables in the Data Analysis Section were designed to include data collected ANNUALLY from EVERY school and district in a standardized manner. Questions about these surveys can be sent to

  • How do school coverage and data sources in WINSS compare to WISEdash?

    WISEdash covers the same set of schools as are covered by WISEdash and data come from the same DPI Data Warehouse. For more information see the WISEdash FAQ and About the Data.


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