Step 3: Use Excel to summarize your scores

Excel offers a variety of ways to summarize your scores and allows you to communicate your findings in a style that your audience will appreciate. For example, colleagues in some disciplines may be used to information presented in paragraph form, while others may prefer to see tables or charts.

No matter which communication approach you choose, begin by summarizing your evidence with numerical descriptions, such as averages and standard deviations, frequencies, or percentages.

Averages and Standard Deviations

To learn how to create averages and standard deviations, click on the Averages Video shown below. (Note: This video summarizes the rubric evidence introduced in Step 2, but the steps presented will also work for test scores or survey responses.)

 Frequencies & Percentages

To learn how to count how many students scored in each range (e.g. Proficient) for all items (e.g. rubric elements) – and then how to turn these counts, or frequencies, into percentages – click on the videos shown below. (Note: These videos summarize the rubric evidence introduced in Step 2, but the steps presented will also work for test scores or survey responses.)

Part I, Frequencies Video:

Part II, Percentages Video:

Next, present your findings in one of the following ways, depending on which numerical descriptions you wish to highlight (there is no need to present your findings in more than one way):

Narrative (Explain what you found in sentence form.)

Table (Present numerical descriptions in a table.)

Chart (Provide a visual representation of your findings.) 

Narrative – Explain what you found in sentence form:

On the Content and Development element, the average score was 3.33 (1=Novice, 4=Accomplished), and 33% of students scored at the Accomplished level. The majority (67%) scored at the Proficient level. No students scored at the Developing level or the Novice level.

Table – Present numerical descriptions in a table. Click here to view a short video that shows how to use Excel to create tables like this one:

Table Example 9

Chart – Provide a visual representation of your findings.

  • Click here to view a short video that shows how to create a Clustered Column Chart, which compares numerous items side by side; for example, average scores:

Clustered Column Chart 10

  • Click here to view a short video that shows how to create a Stacked Column Chart, which can be used to show the percentage of students who scored in each range (e.g. Proficient) for all items (e.g. rubric elements):

Excel for Assessment Stacked Column Chart

Return to Excel for Assessment homepage Next: Step 4: Use your findings to improve student learning