NBC News' Education Nation Challenge Winner
Graduating from high school means better job prospects and higher earning potential for individuals, but what does it mean for the community or country as a whole? To answer this question, the Alliance for Excellent Education produced a sophisticated set of projections detailing the future spending, tax revenue, home sales, and more, that would result from improving America's graduation rates. In partnership with NBC News' Education Nation, Visualizing.org challenged you to present these benefits in a compelling, convincing, and data-driven form. The winning entries will be put in front of government officials, business leaders, and educators at the Education Nation Summit 2011.
Congratulations to Jonathan Schwabish and Courtney Griffith on winning the Education Nation challenge. The data set included many different angles, and Schwabish and Griffith did a great job of fitting together a national view (total earnings, investments, etc.) with finer-grained results (by race, state, and local metro areas). An elegant color and icon scheme connects the eight different metrics through each set of projections. The grid of "Local Level" results, in particular, succeeds in providing a broad comparison of the benefits to each city as well as the actual numbers that an area's policymakers will want to see. The jury was also impressed by the attractive, eye-catching design of the entry – an important factor when the goal is to grab and keep the attention of Summit attendees.
The jury also awarded an honorable mention to Karl Sluis for his dense and innovative entry. His project packs in a large amount of information, with projections at national, state, and a selection of local levels, as well as a handful of supporting graphs that round out the picture. The centerpiece of the infographic is a US map with clusters of bubbles for each state, providing individual details as well as comparison between states. The jury appreciated this novel solution to the problem, but felt that ultimately the combination of map and bubbles don't provide the clearest or most persuasive picture. Perhaps the most interesting portion of the piece is a small graph in the corner, which shows the "Community Potential Per Student" in all 225 metro areas. By calculating the amounts per student, regional population differences are evened out, and new insights start to emerge.
Thanks to everyone who participated in the challenge, to the Alliance for Excellent Education and the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center for their data and expertise, and to NBC News' Education Nation.
Check out Governor Bob Wise's blog post about the winning visualization on Education Nation.