Interested in what Level students do after graduation? Read about Pete Petrin, a level alum of our Data Analytics Core in Boston cohort, who is using his experience at Level to further his career as a Data Analyst with the DC Public Charter School Board. I got to speak with Pete about his time at Level and his future plans.
Why did you decide to enroll in Level?
I was a Northeastern undergrad and I graduated back in 2013. I was living out in Silicon Valley when I first heard about Level from the regional campus. I was a high school teacher at the time, so I wanted to take the course because I was particularly interested in data analytics in education.
One of the best parts of Level is being able to work with sponsors who provide real life problems to solve by playing the role of a data analyst. Can you tell me about your capstone project?
I thought the capstone project was really empowering and a great chance to work in a more realistic context. I was working with a company that worked on rating educational apps. It was a company that created their proprietary algorithm to evaluate educational apps based on criteria such as learner feedback, error feedback, user interface etc. To evaluate the apps, they used some technical qualities and some academic qualities. They had been collecting data on the rankings of thousands of apps they had been looking at. My capstone project was analyzing this data and converting it to numeric values, so that I could then use analysis variance to look at what qualities were prevalent in strong performing apps, and what qualities of the app were correlated with high performance.
How does the capstone project relate to what you are doing now?
I am currently a College of Professional Studies student at Northeastern in the masters of education program in Learning Analytics. I would say that was a direct result of my Level experience. I had a clear focus on wanting to work in education and having the analytics experience under my belt helped me recognize the Learning Analytics program was a great fit. The capstone project gave me experience not only with how to use analytics to analyze situations, but also to think about situations and how to abstract my own questions and to look at data with a questioning eye. It’s not just answering problems at face value, but identifying what problems might be underlying, and getting creative around designing solutions for that problem.
What are your next steps?
I applied for a fellowship through Education Pioneers, which places education professionals in influential positions outside of classrooms. They specifically had a career track for data analysts and realized that a big area of need in capacity building for districts and schools was data work. For example, helping take descriptive academic data and making instructive on how to think critically about ways to leverage and collect culture data. It was focused on how to use data quantitatively and qualitatively to improve school culture and school environments. Every element of what I learned in Level was involved in these performance tasks during the interview process. Level has been really instructive toward helping me move along that process and be successful on those tasks. It was a great opportunity to see the spectrum of how Level tools were used in the industry.
I got connected with the DC Public Charter School Board and will be helping charters set meaningful accountability goals for the students they’re serving academically, as well as cultural indicators such as school attendance, school dropout rates and graduation rates. I will be helping the school quality and accountability team grant those new charters and I will also be supporting the team that is doing charter renewals. I’ll be looking through the data for each of the schools to get a sense of if they’re meeting their goals and help identify new goals or indicators that would be useful as we renew the grant. It’s a great opportunity to use data to understand and evaluate schools.
Please join me as we congratulate Level alum Pete on his new job as a Data Analyst for the D.C. Public Charter School Board! We wish him nothing but the best and can’t wait to see all the wonderful things he will accomplish in D.C.