Essential Spreadsheet Skills

Data-literate educators can present quantitative data in ways that enhance analyses or improve accessibile.
Made by RelayGSEJVisible only to RelayGSE - Extended Access

About this Micro-credential

Key Method

Quantitative data often come in forms that require work to make them meaningful to an educator. Spreadsheets (for instance, Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel) are probably the most critical tool for working with quantitative data as a classroom educator. Although spreadsheets offer many advanced functions that allow for powerful analyses and sophisticated display of data, educators routinely employ a fairly limited set of spreadsheet skills when using data to drive classroom instruction.

Method Components

Data-literate educators possess a set of essential spreadsheet skills that allow them to better analyze and present data. This set includes the following 10 skills:

  1. Do basic arithmetic.

- Educators use spreadsheets to do basic arithmetic (e.g., find the sum of a set of numbers, find the percent correct on an assessment).

  1. Calculate averages.

- Educators use spreadsheets to report the average for a single row of data (e.g., a student’s average on an assessment) or column (e.g., average performance for all students on a single item).

  1. Transpose data.

- Educators take a set of data that is oriented one direction and transpose it so that it is oriented in the other direction (e.g., transpose a set of standards listed in a column and so they display in rows).

  1. Sort data.

- Educators sort data so that it is ordered in a particular way (e.g., from highest to lowest score, alphabetically by last name).

  1. Filter data.

- Educators filter data by a particular field, value, or range of values (e.g., display the scores from second period only, show scores on constructed response items only).

  1. Paste data as “special” to change its form.

- Educators take data in one form (e.g., from an underlying calculation) and present it in another form (e.g., as a raw value); this operation involves “pasting special,” or pasting data in the desired format.

  1. Use conditional formatting.

- Educators conditionally format cells to help call out patterns in the data (e.g., turn all cells with a value below 70% red).

  1. Use “if” statements.

- Educators write “if” statements to count or calculate based on a particular parameter (e.g., count the number of students who answered “a” on an item).

  1. Calculate weighted averages.

- Educators create overall averages that weight particular components more than others(e.g., calculating at a final average grade that weights homework, quizzes, performance tasks, and unit assessments differently).

  1. Concatenate data.

- Educators use the concatenate feature to merge (and manipulate) data from multiple cells (e.g., create a new column that takes the data in the column for first name and combines it with the first letter of the word in the column for last name).

Research & Resources

Supporting Research

  • Schaffhauser, Dian. (2015). 5 productivity skills every educator must have. The Journal,


Submission Requirements

Submission Guidelines & Evaluation Criteria

To earn the micro-credential Essential Spreadsheet Skills, you must demonstrate proficiency in all 10 essential spreadsheet skills.

To complete the micro-credential, please complete the following steps:

  1. Access this spreadsheet, which describes the 10 skill-related tasks and provides all the sample data you will need to complete this micro-credential:
  2. Make a personal copy of the spreadsheet (File _ Make a Copy). You may complete the work in Google Sheets or download the file into a more familiar format (e.g., MS Excel).
  3. Complete each of the skill-related tasks. There are yellow cells in each sheet where you should enter answers.
  4. Submit the completed spreadsheet for scoring.

Each of the skill-related tasks will be assessed as either Proficient (the skill was performed correctly) or Attempting (at least one error was made that led to a wrong answer). To earn this micro-credential, you must score Proficient in ALL 10 skills.

Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under:
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


Download to access the requirements and scoring guide for this micro-credential.
How to prepare for and earn this micro-credential - in a downloadable PDF document