Manny Straehle on the ICA Data Visualization Competition

Hello! I am Manny Straehle and I work with International Credentialing Associates (ICA). ICA is a measurement consulting firm with expertise in developing certificates, certification, and licensing programs. We are committed to producing reports and visualizations that are simple and easy to understand for the clients we serve, but we need your help.

Hot Tip – Enter our Data Visualization Competition: With the sponsorship of AEA’s Data Visualization and Reporting TIG, we are launching a data visualization competition. The winner will receive $500.

ICA often generates data reports for our clients – and revising the look and ease of this data report is the basis for this data visualization competition.

Don’t worry if you aren’t familiar with certification and licensing programs, or if some of the terms below are new to you. The contest involves improved organization and display – no data analysis required.  The submissions will be reviewed by our panel of judges, including me, Rory McCorkle, DVR TIG founder Stephanie Evergreen, DVR TIG Co-chair Johanna Morariu, and other experts.

Task:       To create a data visualization-centered report, using a provided dummy set of data.

Hot Tip – Include These Required Report Components:

  • ICA’s name, logo, and color schema (available from the ICA website)
  • Space for customer name
  • The following data points, from the provided Excel spreadsheet:
    • Key (correct answer)
    • P+ (item difficulty)
      • Percent of candidates who answer the question correctly
    • Distractor Analysis (number and percentage) across three performance levels
    • Rbis (item discrimination)
      • Correlation between performance on an item and total performance
    • Recommended actions

Hot Tip – Attend to the Evaluation Criteria:

  • Uses basic spreadsheet software (Excel, Open Office, etc.) for data visualizations
  • Report fits on one page
  • Required report components are present
  • Text is legible
  • Data visualizations are easily interpreted
  • Transfer of graphs from spreadsheet to report is easy
  • Report uses best practices in data visualization design
    • Layout and use of space
    • Use of color and contrast
    • Inclusion of appropriate text
    • Use of data visualizations appropriate to data
    • Contribution of design to overall comprehension of information

Hot Tip – Follow Our Submission Instructions:

  • Download the Excel spreadsheet with a data set you can use (please note the file is dummy data).
  • Submit your revision, both report in PDF format and spreadsheet file, to by 15 April 2013.
  • The winner will be announced on 15 May 2013 and contacted by email.
  • All entries become the property of ICA upon submission.  By submitting an entry, all Entrants agree to the Official Rules of Entry.
  • Questions can be directed to

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

6 thoughts on “Manny Straehle on the ICA Data Visualization Competition”

  1. Manny Straehle

    After reviewing competitive entries, ICA and the evaluators involved in assessing the entries congratulates to Jill M. Lipski Cain.

    Congratulations Jill.

  2. Greg,

    It would have to be created in Excel or another spreadsheet and not be placed into Excel. We know this is a challenge, but we would like to be able to use common tools and preferably free (Excel is not but is common enough that most of us have it) to create these data visualizations in the future. In addition, keeping it in Excel allows us to take advantage of marcos to move our work towards automation.

    Let me know if this helps,

  3. Is the creation of visualization limited to spreadsheet program like excel or can we use other softwares to develop visualizations?

  4. Stephanie Evergreen

    They can be made in any basic spreadsheet software. They don’t have to ultimately be placed in Excel, either. Good questions!

  5. Greg Kresslein

    So the visualizations need to be actually created in Excel, or just be able to be placed into Excel?

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