How to Make a Guttman Chart

This article will show you the steps to create a Guttman Chart using your class learning data. 

What is a Guttman Chart?

A guttman chart is basically a spreadsheet that includes all the micro-data from a class assessment for the entire class in a single sheet. So you can view it all at once.

This is the sorted and formatted version of the raw data from your rubric/criteria sheet.  

What are the benefits of using a Guttman Chart?

Sorting your class assessment data into a Guttman chart gives you the opportunity to see your class assessment data in a visual way and get an instant understanding of the spread of learning abilities in your class.

Guttman Charts allow you to effectively plan learning tasks that are right at the achievable level for individual students because you can easily group students with other students of similar levels.

With Guttman charts you can easily see any anomalies in your data.

Like gaps in student learning that are unexpected.

This could be an individual student who has some gaps in their row, or as a class a particular criteria was very infrequently achieved and this is something you would have expected students to do better in.

This is obvious when you view your data in a Guttman chart, but nearly impossible to spot with unformatted data without pouring over it late at night until it feels like your eyes are hanging out of your head!

How do Guttman Charts work?

Guttman Charts are a way of formatting the raw micro-data from your class assessments.

They involve including the individual achievement for every criteria level for each student in your class.

If a student achieves a criteria level, this is shown with a ‘1’ in the respective cell.

If a student did not achieve a paricular criteria level, this is shown as a ‘0’ in the respective cell.

The Guttman Chart is sorted to show the most high achieving students at the top and lowest achiving students at the bottom.

The Criteria levels are sorted from left to right with the most-frequently achieved on the left and least-frequently achieved on the right.

This gives a visiual view of the class achievements and makes it easier to spot anomolies in the data, and gaps to fill in student learning.

It also makes it easier to identify what each student should be aiming for next.

How to create a Guttman Chart

You will already have all the data you need to create a Guttman Chart.

If you use our assessment platform, Flohh, you can access your raw learning data by clicking ‘Download Assignment Stats’ on any assignment page. Flohh users can skip to Step 2!

If you don’t use Flohh, no worries! We will detail the steps for getting your class data here.

Step 1: Collate your data

Once you have marked your class set of assessments you need to collate the results in a spreadsheet.

In your first column, add your student names.

In the top row, add each criteria level as a separate column. If you are using a rubric, add the description of each level to these columns.

Highlight each criteria group a different colour. This will come in handy later when your sort your Gutmman Chart.

Gutmman Charts require the micro-data from your assessment. Instead of grades, which are the end result, Guttman Charts need the scores that make up the grades.

To enter the data for each student, add a ‘1’ under the criteria level if they achieveed that level and a ‘0’ if they did not. Note: levels are accumulative so if you have marked a student at being a 3/4 on a particular criteria, they will get a ‘1’ for the first 3 levels, and a ‘0’ for the fourth.

Here is an example of an unformatted class Guttman Chart. You can see the aciehvement data for each student in the row next to their name. 

Unformatted Guttman Chart

Step 2: Format your data

There are 4 steps involved in formtting your Guttman Chart data. You can do this in Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets.

It is a quick process that shouldn’t take you more than a couple of minutes.

We’ve broken it down for you in this video and article so you can’t go wrong!

See the step-by-step in our video tutorial. Or read on for a text breakdown.

Start by finding the sum of your rows and columns. 

Go to the far right column. 

Student Total Score Column

Select the cell next to the first row of scores. Type =Sum( into this cell.

Finding the sum for each student

Select all of the student scores for this row by dragging your cursor over them.

Select student cells for sum

Close the bracket ) of the formula and press enter.

This will add up all the points this student achieved and show the sum in the cell you just edited.

Select this cell again with a single click. Hover your cursor in the bottom right corner of the cell until you see a black cross come up. 

Left click and drag the selection box down into the blank cells for the rest of the student’s tallys. This will add up the tallies for the rest of the class.

Each student’s tally will automatically appear once you release your mouse.

Find the sum of points for each criteria level.

Go to the bottom row (below your last student). 

Select the empty cell in the column of the first criteria. 

Type =sum( into this cell.

Like before, Select all of the student scores for this column by dragging your cursor over them. 

Close the bracket of the formula ) and press enter.

Select this cell again with a single click. Hover your cursor in the bottom right corner of the cell until you see a black cross come up. 

Left click and drag the selection box across into the blank cells for the rest of the criteria level tallies. 

This will add up the tallies for the rest of the criteria levels. 

Now you are ready to sort your Guttman Chart. 

From the top right hand corner, select the first student tally, and drag your cursor diagonally to the left so you have select all the student names and all of their scores and tallies (but not the tallies for the criteria. See image below).

On the toolbar, click sort and filter. Largest to smallest.

From the top left, select the first criteria level and drag diagonally to the right so that you have selected all of the criteria levels, all of the student scores and the criteria level tallies (but not the individual student tallies. See image below).

On the toolbar click sort and filter. Custom sort. 

Select Options at the top. Sort Left to Right. Then press okay.

Select the ‘Sort By’ drop down and select your bottom row.

Select the ‘Order’ drop down, then select ‘Largest to Smallest’. Press ‘okay’ This will complete the sorting of your Guttman Chart.

Step 3: Add Conditional Highlighting

To add Conditional Highlighting so you can easily see the data, select all of your student data (the 1’s and 0’s). 

On the toolbar click Conditional Formatting. Highlight Cell Rules. Equal to.

Add 1 to the box and press okay. This will highlight all of the achieved cells in your Guttman Chart so you are able to see a visual representation of the achievement in your class. 

Once you’ve added the Conditional Highlighting, you may notice some obious gaps in your Guttman Chart. These are anomolies in the data and may suggest gaps in student learning or the need to revisit particular skills. 

Formatted Guttman Chart

You can group students into ZPD (Zone of Personal/Proximal Development) groups easily by adding them to groups in which approximately 50% of the skills they have achieved and approximately 50% they have not.

This allows students to sit in level in which they are comforatble but still push themselves to improve within their own ability levels.

Give ZPD groups activities to specifally target the skills or knowledge they should be looking at next (as shown on your Guttman chart by the order of the criteria levels at the top.

Moving from left to right will ensure students are tackling these skills in an order that is achievable.

For a video tutorial for how to Create a Guttman Chart, click here.

Ange Alcock

Ange is the Founder of Flohh. She is a teacher and previous head of English at Mac.Robertson Girls' High School. Ange is developing the Flohh suite of Educational Tools because she is passionate about reducing teacher workload so there is more time to focus on the needs of students, generally and individually.

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