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BI Tool: Comprehensive Data Report for English Learners

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July 9th, 2018

Last month, Christopher Albans from Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District (FSUSD) shared one of his favorite Illuminate BI Tool Reports: “MAP RIT Scores Student/Parent Letter.” The report integrates online resources from both Khan Academy and “Your Reading Path,” transforming the data from numbers on a page to actionable information for students and parents. Great work FSUSD, and thank you for sharing the report with the BI Tool User Community! Since last month’s blog, numerous districts around the country have created their own version of the “MAP RIT Scores Student/Parent Letter,” which is what this blog is all about.

This month, Mindy Thai from Tustin Unified School District generously agreed to contribute to our on-going BI Tool blog. Mindy has created many Illuminate  BI Tool reports over the years (so she had a lot to choose from!), but she decided to highlight the “Comprehensive Data Report for English Learners.” I love that this report is the product of collaboration between Mindy and a teacher leader/TOSA. As icing on the cake, once Mindy created this report, she was able to use this report as a template to create several other reports. Great work Mindy, and thanks for sharing!

Please join Illuminate’s BI Tool User Community by following this link! (To participate in the forum, login to Illuminate, click your “Control Panel,” select “Illuminate Help Center,” and click on “Community.”)

If you are interested in contributing to the BI Tool Blog, please email me at:


Franck Reyherme
Director of Business Intelligence Services


Comprehensive Data Report for English Learners

By: Mindy Thai, Tustin Unified School District

My name is Mindy Thai and I’m the Illuminate System Administrator at the Tustin Unified School District (TUSD). TUSD oversees 20 elementary schools, 7 middle schools, and 5 high schools serving around 20,000 students. TUSD has been a DnA client since 2011. I’ve always been intrigued with the Illuminate prebuilt reports but could not create my own pre-built reports until Illuminate made it possible to use the BI Tool without SQL. When TUSD tasked me with creating prebuilt progress reports for the “Running Record” district reading assessment, I jumped at the opportunity to develop these prebuilt reports using custom reports and the BI Tool. Even today, I still devote quite a bit of time every time I have to build a report because each report has its own challenges. I still book online sessions with Franck to go over some features that I don’t know how to implement in Jaspersoft.

I recently completed a simple report designed by Alison Bruner, TUSD’s English Learner Department Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA).

I believe this report will be very useful for EL teachers to help EL students and I’d like to share Alison’s vision with you:

“Tustin Unified School District’s Office of Language Acquisition created the Comprehensive English Learner Data Report to support teachers, coaches, administrators and the Educational Services Department to gain a full snapshot of their English Learners and determine the academic and language strengths and needs of each student.  Details of the report include: previous year’s absences, tardies, free and reduced lunch status, language fluency status, three years of language testing data, most recent state assessment scores and local assessment scores that are used for reclassification. This data will also be key with RFEP monitoring, as it will identify students who are RFEP year one through year four.  This will enable sites to monitor their reclassified students within this report, so that they are able to intervene swiftly with intervention support if needed.

Teachers will also use this data to determine which English learner students would benefit from a Learning Partnership Plan.  Through this Learning Partnership Plan, the teacher will meet with identified students and review their data with a strength based lens.  The teachers will ask the student questions such as, “What gets in the way of your learning?” “When do you feel successful in school?” After the first asset based feedback meeting, the teacher and student will craft one academic goal and one language goal together based on the data from the report.  This protocol will empower students through goal setting and weekly check-ins.  This feedback loop between the student and teacher will create a learning partnership where the teacher becomes an ally, and the student takes ownership of their learning.  We are hopeful, that this data and the Learning Partnership Plan will support our English learner students in building agency, self–efficacy, a growth mindset, and propel them to become independent learners.”

I created different versions for elementary and secondary schools. At first glance, it seems that a custom report using a form letter to merge fields and print in Illuminate is straightforward. However, there are three sections in this report that I cannot merge fields or mail-merge.

First, the RFEP students have a reclassification date that I have to mark if they have been monitored for year 1, 2, 3 or 4. Secondly, the user must check mark the correct English Proficiency Status of the student in the box, and for the Special Programs.

Finally, the elementary report card has different columns for each grade level when pulled into the custom report, making it impossible to map the fields using the form letter feature in custom reporting.

There were a few challenges on the BI Tool side to resolve the three sections. For example, I had to convert the string/text reclassification date to a real date value so I could dynamically calculate the RFEP Year 1, 2, 3, or 4 for every student. I also had to use the “Font Awesome” icon font for the check mark, and to write an expression to pull in the correct value from the many report card fields to the Final Grade.

To make it easy for teachers to find the report I set up this tile:

Using this report as a template, I also created the RFEP compliance letters for the RFEP students for the EL department, and the elementary Pink and Blue forms placement card for class roster use in the coming school year.

I really enjoy using the BI Tool because it gives me the ability to create amazing reports without requiring SQL programming.


Illuminate Education is a provider of educational technology and services offering innovative data, assessment and student information solutions. Serving K-12 schools, our cloud-based software and services currently assist more than 1,600 school districts in promoting student achievement and success.

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1 Comment

  1. Muneiza Ahsan on July 9, 2018 at 3:56 pm

    This is great! Thanks for sharing

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