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Visualizing school data with JMP: Q&A with Aaron Brough of Utah State Board of Ed

Aaron Brough of the Utah State Board of Education, uses JMP for visualizing and modeling school data.Aaron Brough of the Utah State Board of Education, uses JMP for visualizing and modeling school data.

Summertime is here, so school is out for many people. But school improvement and research never stops. We are highlighting how state education departments use JMP throughout the year to improve educator preparation and effectiveness, and processes. This is the second of two blog posts based on interviews with professionals in state education. The first interview was with Matt Goodlaw of the New Mexico Public Education Department.


Aaron Brough is the Data Quality Manager for the Data and Statistics Section at the Utah State Board of Education (USBE). He answered a few questions about how USBE uses JMP for visualization and statistical modeling of school data.

Key Quote

"I think what JMP has done is saved time. It takes less time to clean data and put it into great visuals," Brough says.

Fun Facts About Aaron Brough

  • Most used JMP platforms: Fit Model, Graph Builder, Tabulate and Distribution
  • JMP in the legislative world: JMP was used to create visuals and run analyses for our federally required peer review for the statewide exam 

Tell us a bit about the function of your department and what type of data you come across?

My section is the statistical unit at the state’s education agency. We deal with many kinds of student and school data, and there is a great deal of interest in evaluating the impact of policies and programs. We collect and audit data for students in public school in grades K-12. This includes enrollment, testing, course and other school data and evaluating longitudinal data sets. We respond to data requests and provide statistical research. 

What was it like to learn JMP? Did you find the resources helpful?

For most of my employees, it was somewhat easy for them to learn JMP as they have backgrounds from other statistical software programs like SAS and STATA. We found the free online tutorials very helpful. 

What do you like most about using JMP? 

We like the visual components and the ease of cleaning up data or joining data in JMP. We like that it is straightforward to use, and does a lot of analysis without having to program or write “coding” language (over, for example, SPSS, and certainly R).  

Can you give an example or two of interesting problems that you have been able to address by using JMP?

We are currently evaluating different samples and models for disposition of a school (exit, continue, further consequences) at the end of a multiyear intervention. We have found that JMP makes it easy to bounce between data sets and models. The visualization of the data helped policy makers readily understand the differences and impacts from the different models.


Note: Olivia Lippincott, JMP Systems Engineer, contributed to this post.

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