Two data packages: Rail-trails and an assessment of student achievement

Written by: Josh Rosenberg

Primary Source: Joshua M. Rosenberg, October 25, 2017

Because of interest and the need for better examples (for teaching and for use in tools under development, such as prcr and tidyLPA, I worked to create two data packages, data easily available through an R package.

A benefit of the data being in an R package is that it is even easier to access than other formats (in R): Just load the name of the package and type the name of the data frame, or, if the data is included as built-in data in another package (one that is loaded), just type the name of the data frame. This can be helpful because data packages can make it easy to use an interesting dataset right away (loading data can sometimes be surprisingly hard) Another benefit is the data are documented and easily joined (in the case of the student questionnaire and achievement data in the PISA data) with related information, such as students’ schools. The data are also saved in an efficient format.

  • pisaUSA15: Data package that provides student questionnaire data from the 2015 PISA for students in the United States of America. More information is available at
  • railtrails: Data package with trail data from the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, including the trail name, state, distance, and surface. More information is available at


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Joshua M. Rosenberg is a Ph.D. student in the Educational Psychology and Educational Technology program at Michigan State University. In his research, Joshua focuses on how social and cultural factors affect teaching and learning with technologies, in order to better understand and design learning environments that support learning for all students. Joshua currently serves as the associate chair for the Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) Special Interest Group in the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education. Joshua was previously a high school science teacher, and holds degrees in education (M.A.) and biology (B.S.).