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Data and Statistics in Education

This guide provides data and statistics resources to support research and teaching in K-12 education.

Data and Statistics Definitions

This section of the guide will help you understand the different types of data you’ll be able to collect through the resources provided.

Definitions

The terms data and statistics are often used interchangeably and can mean different things depending on who you ask. These definitions are provided to help you navigate the world of data and statistics resources.

Data can be defined as observations, facts or figures that can be used in research to draw conclusions. One example is the enrollment numbers of one school as seen in Table 1.

Table 1

Chart showing registration numbers at school

From: Ontario Open Data Catalog

Microdata refers to data that is collected at an individual level, ex. all the individual responses to a survey such as a name, age, etc. This provides a researcher with the opportunity to aggregate and analyze the data to directly meet their own research needs. Microdata sets can be analyzed using software such as SPSS, SAS and Excel as well as through online platforms such as <odesi>. An example of microdata can be seen in Table 2.

 

Aggregate Data refers to data that has been grouped together in a way that an individual can interpret. An example would be school enrollment for entire provinces as seen in table 3.

Table 2

Table showing school enrollment for entire provinces

From: Statistics Canada. Table  477-0025

Statistics refers to data that analyzed using a pre-defined common method. Some examples of these methods are measures of central tendency such as mean, median and mode, or frequency.  The statistical chart below (Table 4) uses the aggregate data from Table 3 to illustrate the change in enrollment rates.

Table 3

table showing percent changes of enrollment from year to year

 From: Statistics Canada. Table  477-0025