Data-Driven Change

The Data-Driven Change Certificate denotes and honors students who have engaged in an intentional, organized, and well­-documented arc of project-­based learning and focused scholarship within a specific realm of inquiry. Students pursuing this certificate will show a high degree of motivation and scholarship in learning about:

  • Using data to drive change in organizations, communities, and policy
  • Obtaining, qualifying, testing, and analyzing large quantities of publicly available longitudinal, cross-sectional, and current data
  • Processes by which  massive quantities of data are collected routinely
  • Understanding and communicating information built on hard data
  • Understanding how misinformation is used to influence people

As part of their work towards certification, students will contribute to a better future by examining facts that relate to optimal solutions, while working collaboratively with other students, outside organizations, and experts whenever possible and practical. Given the broad range of possible areas of focus under the Data-Driven Change umbrella, students will have considerable latitude in designing a path that reflects their individual passions and skills.

Required Course Work (at least 4 semesters) – earning a grade of B or above:

  • Design Engineering
  • Microeconomics
  • Macroeconomics
  • Statistics
  • Advanced Biology or Chemistry–beyond Biology 2 and Chemistry 2
  • Computer Science beyond Introduction to Programming
  • Mathematics beyond Algebra 2
  • Independent Seminar with an environmental science focus
  • Independent Seminar with a mathematics focus
  • Independent Seminar with an economics focus

Required Project Work (at least 4 projects):

Students will focus on a project or major assignment on a data-driven topic in at least four other classes over the junior and senior years, in consultation with the course teacher and the Data-Driven Change Coordinator. At least one project will involve a collaborative, group effort and one project must be a math modeling activity. Projects must earn a B or above. These will be developed and accomplished in other disciplines, for example:

In a History or Religion course, the student will research, quantify, model, and complete an analysis of the impacts of fossil energy use worldwide; develop a public policy strategy to address the global warming implications of the changes over time; and calculate the benefits of the proposed program. These projects will be designed by the student in consultation with the certificate director, approved by the relevant teacher (when appropriate), and approved by the certificate director. Once graded by the teacher, the project work is forwarded to the director, who will review with the student and approve the work as a submission to the certificate portfolio.

Off-Campus Immersion:
Students will engage in an off-campus project or program with a data-driven focus. This could be independently designed or students can tailor an existing Westtown program to fit the criteria. Any international project would be a hands-on experience that would reinforce or amplify data analysis projects already completed on campus.

Extra-Curricular Opportunity (one required):

  • Student data work with Technology during one or more co-­curricular terms
  • Student data work with the Upper School Office
  • Student service on Buildings and Grounds Committee of the Trustees
  • Graduation service requirement helping a non-profit organization analyze its current and potential constituent groups

Capstone Project:

The student will complete a Capstone Project that demonstrates authentic project­-based learning, ties all of the certificate experiences into a cogent, reflective whole, and connects to the published Westtown School Global Competencies. The Student will compile all documentation and works created within the certificate program into a portfolio. Examples of Capstone Synthesis are: a workshop or seminar run by the student that teaches out his or her learning, the creation of an artifact, or the collection of a portfolio with a critical analysis of the scope and significance of the work and its connection to Global Competencies. A final presentation of the Capstone Project will be required during the spring of senior year.