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EdMaps- FAQ

Play the video below to explore the content and basic functionality of the EdMaps application.


What is a story map?

Story maps provide simple and informational visuals (images, charts, graphs, and more) together with maps to help communicate the analysis that goes on behind the data. Each story map presented within the EdMaps application displays data in a predetermined format in an attempt to tell a specific story with education data in the Midwest region.


Why are the data ‘missing or not applicable’ for my school or district?

EdMaps is derived from publicly available data sources. In some cases, data are not available for certain schools or districts, or were unable to be correctly associated with a specific school or district. For instance, in some situations with Common Core of Data (CCD), data are listed as not applicable, missing, or not meeting NCES data quality standards and therefore cannot be mapped.


Why can’t I see all of the states at once on the graduation rates map?

Although reported graduation rates are more comparable across states than rates submitted in previous years under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) as amended, there are still some differences in how states have calculated their rates.  These differences include how students are identified for inclusion in certain subgroups, how the beginning of the cohort is defined, whether summer school students are included, and which diplomas count as a regular high school diploma. Because of these differences, the graduation rates story map was not designed to allow for a regional comparison.


Can I view individual ranges on a map (e.g., only those districts with graduation rates less than or equal to a 60 percent) rather than all of the ranges at once?

For our story maps, we like to provide a clean and simple interface to try to tease out the complex story behind the data. We therefore set up predefined break points for the data that represent logical, natural breaks in the data and that allow for quick and easy comparisons among different values. In the future, we will provide the ability to customize the break points through our Custom Map viewer.


When I put an address into the search feature, I don’t see a corresponding point on the map.  Why not?

Our address locator is powered by ArcGIS Online Geocoding Service located at Although this service should be relatively complete for most addresses worldwide, there may still be some difficulty in locating specific addresses from time to time. For more information about the ArcGIS Geocoding Service, click here:


Where did the priority areas come from?

REL Midwest’s four main priority areas of educator effectiveness, college and career readiness, low-performing schools and school improvement, and early childhood education were identified through a variety of needs-sending activities across the Midwest. Underlying all of the priority areas is the need for better understanding and use of the application of data.


How can I make suggestions for future story maps?

You can send your suggestions to Lisa Shimmel at REL Midwest by e-mailing


When will story maps for early childhood and educator effectiveness be available?

We are working on putting together ideas for these sections. If you have suggestions, please e-mail them to Lisa Shimmel at


Who can I contact if I have questions?

Lisa Shimmel
Senior Policy Analyst, REL Midwest
American Institutes for Research