Data Literacy Test

Data Literacy Test

This page is about the Alooba data literacy test. Data literacy is a fundamental skill set that almost anybody, in any role requires nowadays. Data literacy is one of the most commonly demanded skills now right across an organization, in product, engineering, marketing, sales & finance. You might also hear people refer to data fluency - same thing really. Data literacy can be considered a subset of digital literacy.

Data literacy is one of the most popular skills to assess using Alooba. It’s one of more than 40+ skills related to data & analytics that you can assess on Alooba. You can assess data literacy in various ways on Alooba, including through Concepts & Knowledge test type, video answers and also now Alooba Interview.

Organizations use the Alooba data literacy quizzes to assess:

Here’s a free practice data literacy test. Candidates can take this to gain experience before taking a real test for a job. Hiring managers & learning managers can check out this free practice test to get a glimpse into how the test works.

Alooba Data Literacy Test General FAQ

What is data literacy?

That’s a great starting place. Actually, there is no universally accepted definition of data literacy. Most people consider data literacy as the ability to use, read, interpret and analyze data correctly.

It’s probably easiest to understand what data literacy includes by running through some quick examples of the different components of data literacy.

Here are some common data literacy capabilities:

  • Understanding different formats of data and when each is used, how to interact with them etc. For example data in XML vs JSON vs CSV formats.
  • Understanding different data types and when each is appropriate. For example data can be stored as a string, integer or decimal etc. Storing someone’s name as a string makes sense, while storing an exchange rate as an integer does not.
  • Understanding different stores of data, for example storing structured data in a relational database vs storing unstructured data in a file-based system.
  • Understanding how to explore a dataset. E.g. being able to obtain a dataset, and quickly get a sense of the main metrics & dimensions, calculate some summary stats and get acquainted with the data - i.e. what’s normally called exploratory data analysis.
  • Understanding how to communicate your findings appropriately. For example, if you’d like to show how the cost of natural gas increased during 2022, you probably wouldn’t want to use a boxplot, but rather a line chart.
  • How to read different types of charts and reports, or ‘visualizations’. For example, being able to look at a box plot and understand what the median value is.
  • Understanding the concept of distributions. For example, understanding the general idea of a statistical distribution, being able to understand how different variables are distributed (normally, Pareto etc.) and what the implication for that is.
  • Understanding the basics of point estimates. For example, the difference between a median and mean, and when to use one or the other.
  • Understanding the effect of outliers, and how to treat outliers. For example, if you’re looking at incomes within a large bank, understanding the effect of the CEO’s $50M salary on the average salary within the organization.
  • Having a critical eye to be able to identify corrupted/incorrect data. For example spotting outliers, spotting null or missing values - basically being able to do a good sniff test.
  • Understanding basic statistical concepts like the law of large numbers.

Hopefully those examples have helped to unpack what data literacy is all about.

Is data literacy Excel skills?

No, no it isn’t :)

Data literacy is inherently tool agnostic. It doesn’t matter whether you’re doing analysis in Excel or Python, or a relational database, or a pad and pen for that matter, data is data.

Yes MS Excel is an amazing product, and the single most used data tool in the world, but it isn’t ‘data literacy’.

What’s considered out of scope of data literacy?

The field of data is growing rapidly, and there is increased specialization with data scientists, data engineers and data analysts all now distinct positions in most organizations. These data professional roles all rely on a foundational data literacy layer that allows them to do more advanced work.

In terms of data science, generally speaking, advanced statistics, machine learning, deep learning, AI etc. is considered out of scope of data literacy.

In terms of data engineering, building and maintaining data pipelines, databases, data lakes etc. is also considered out of scope of basic data literacy.

And specific tools too are generally outside of scope - e.g. Excel, PowerBI, Tableau etc. Note, the ability to visualize data is in scope normally, just not the requirement to do that in a specific product.

What about machine learning?

Machine learning is a more advanced topic, and most wouldn’t consider it part of ‘data literacy’.

Perhaps the best analogy is data literacy is like reading, writing and counting. Machine learning would be like writing a novel or speaking a foreign language. It’s a much more advanced extension of the basic skillset.

What about biases?

Cognitive biases have gotten a lot of attention over the last decade. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, was a 2011 bestseller that did a great job of synthesizing the 40 years of research into this area that Kahnemen and others conducted.

A lot of these biases relate to our lack of statistical intuition - that our first guess or our gut feel is often quite wrong. Given the influence these biases have on us and our decision making, a basic understanding of them is generally considered within the scope of basic data literacy.

You might like to review some of the common cognitive biases in manual CV screening, for example.

Why does data literacy matter?

Data literacy is not just another buzzword. It matters for the simple reason that improved data literacy can improve decision making. Each person in a business makes countless decisions per day, and the aggregated & compounded impact of improved decision making is hard to measure, but it’s easy to see its importance.

Further, we have so much data now, it’s truly mind-boggling. There is an expectation - and real need - that anyone, in any position, has the basic skills needed to interpret, integrate and analyze data. With less than 5% of an organization normally reserved for data professional roles (e.g. data scientists and data analysts), that leaves the 95% of the other positions in critical need of basic skills themselves to be self reliant.

What types of data literacy questions does the Alooba data literacy test cover?

Alooba comes with an extensive array of data literacy questions to assess your candidates and employees. The data literacy skill covers concepts such as:

  • interpreting different types of charts correctly, such as histograms, bar charts, line charts, boxplots, tree plots and map graphs
  • wrangling and cleaning data
  • aggregating, filtering and grouping data
  • defining appropriate business metrics
  • understanding the data ecosystem, and what different category of tools exist and what they’re generally used for
  • cause and effect, and how variables do (or do not) interact with each other
  • correlation vs causation, and now to understand the difference
  • basics of data privacy
  • making basic extrapolations/predictions based on historical data
  • how to deal with missing or null data
  • how to deal with corrupted or invalid data
  • how to deal with outliers
  • how to make basic calculations like means and medians
  • how to create appropriate visualizations to convey different things

And many other crucial data fluency topics.

What are the main features of the Alooba data literacy test?

The Alooba data literacy test comes with advanced cheating prevention, automated grading, a comprehensive bank of different questions, in-depth benchmarking and insights.

You can see all the features of Alooba products here.

Is this an online data literacy test?

Yes, the Alooba data literacy test is delivered fully online, perfect for remote hiring and employees working from home. Testing online gives you the ability to scale your hiring process exponentially. No more bringing candidates into an office one-by-one.

How do you prevent cheating on the data literacy test?

Alooba has various types of advanced cheating prevention. In order to retain the integrity of our methods, we do not disclose these publicly. Speak to your Alooba account manager to learn more.

What level of difficulty is the data literacy test?

The data literacy test can be customized to suit any level of difficulty, from beginner to advanced.

Each question on Alooba has a difficulty rating of easy, medium or hard. You can customize your assessment to include whichever questions you like.

How much does the data literacy test cost?

There are various pricing options available, and we work with organizations of all types, from startup, to scale up, to government, to non-profit and of course large enterprise. We’d encourage you to book a quick 15-minute discovery call to learn more.

How long does the data literacy test last?

You can customize your Alooba data literacy test to make it as long or as short as you want. Really, the length you set depends on how you want to use the data literacy test.

If you’re looking to assess candidates and replace manual CV screening, we’d suggest a short, sharp data literacy quiz.

If you’re using the data literacy test to replace a take-home project, then we’d suggest making it more in-depth, potentially combining the data literacy test with other critical skills for the role.

If you’re looking to assess your junior candidates in an assessment center we’d suggest a short quiz - check out Alooba Junior.

If you’re looking to assess your employee’s capabilities we’d suggest a series of short quizzes before and after training initiatives. Check out Alooba Growth for details.

How should I assess someone’s data literacy skills?

Understanding a candidate’s data literacy skills is best done through a test, rather than an interview.

Whatever data literacy test option you choose, you should make sure that the data literacy test:

  • Gives you the ability to assess candidates at scale with automated grading.
  • Gives the ability to assess candidates objectively and impartially through automated grading.
  • Includes relevant questions that assess typical things you’d do day to day as a data analyst, data scientist or data engineer.
  • Gives you the insights needed to make an informed hiring decision.

Check out the free Alooba data literacy test to get a glimpse into how it works.

Can I test other skills as well?

Yes, you can test more than 40+ skills on Alooba, one of which is data literacy. Most customers choose to assess their candidates & employees in the 4-8 most critical skills for that role. This gives them a much broader understanding of their strengths and weaknesses, which helps make better hiring and training decisions.

Can I add my own data literacy questions?

Yes, you can. With Alooba’s Question Bank, you can add your own data literacy questions. You might like to include data from your organization, so that candidates can get a glimpse into the types of data and problems that they will solve on the job in your organization. If you’re testing your employees using Alooba Growth, this also gives them a chance to use the datasets that they’re already familiar with.

How is the Alooba data literacy test graded?

The data literacy test is automatically graded. This gives you two significant benefits:

  • You can assess your employees or candidates at scale, giving a lot more people an opportunity they otherwise wouldn’t have had.
  • It’s done objectively, without bias. This is especially important when assessing your employees. This third party, impartiality prevents any internal conflicts that might otherwise arise from poor scores.

Which companies use this data literacy test?

The Alooba data literacy test is used by many of our customers, including Suncor Energy, Unilever, Cazoo & Ventia.

What roles is this data literacy test suitable for?

Data literacy is a fundamental skill set both for right now and into the future. Arguably, every role in any organization needs to have this foundational skill set, that really is like reading and writing were in prior centuries.

So this means that really every role in finance, accounting, marketing, sales, supply, product and senior leadership needs some kind of basic data literacy.

And of course, all data-professional roles should have this foundational skill set, not to mention more advanced data related skills too. These roles include data analyst, data scientist, data engineer, product analyst, business intelligence analyst, growth analyst and more.

Where can I access the Alooba data literacy test?

Looking to assess your candidates or employees? Reach out to us here to get started.

Can I see a preview of the Alooba data literacy test?

Here’s a free practice data literacy quiz which gives you a glimpse into the test.

Can I assess my team with the Alooba data literacy test?

Yes absolutely, you can assess your team’s data literacy with Alooba Growth.

How many candidates have taken the Alooba data literacy test?

The Alooba data literacy test has been battled-tested across more than 20000 candidates.

What are some common mistakes organizations make when trying to improve data literacy?

There are some common, recurring mistakes that organizations make when it comes to improving their data literacy.

Here’s a few examples:

  • ironically…not measuring data literacy to begin with! This normally comes in the form of surveys where employees are asked to self-rate their own skills. Unfortunately, humans are lacking in self awareness, so this doesn’t work
  • not engaging with their team properly to persistently and consistently sell ‘the why’
  • not promoting it from top down. We find execs are often the least engaged, which shows a real lack of leadership
  • trying to hack out some manual tests, and not getting the basics of testing right (unbiased, consistent, apples for apples etc.)
  • lack of 1 on 1 manager feedback to discuss the results

Chat with your Alooba account manager to learn how to prevent these problems when rolling out your data literacy assessments in your organization.

How do we encourage our team to attempt the test?

Some organizations we talk to have struggled to get engagement from their teams to complete assessments. Here’s some quick tips for how to boost your data literacy quiz attempt rates.

  • Make sure you articulate what’s in it for your employees. Pitch the ‘why’ as much as possible. Try to show them understanding their data literacy is crucial to then figuring out their skills gaps which can be plugged, ultimately unlocking new career opportunities for them.
  • Try to make it feel as un-intimidating as possible by reminding your team that this test helps gives them insights about their own skills.
  • Make sure your messaging is consistent and persistent. People have a million things on their plates, and so you really need to remind people and keep on message. Think of this as marketing - I mean, it really is. We suggest an omni-channel approach too - so try Slack, video calls and internal wikis to get the message across.
  • Utilize the whitelabelling and customization of Alooba Growth to embed the benefits messaging within the whole participant experience, including the emails and in-test experience too.
  • Make use of Alooba Growth’s instant feedback to give immediate value to your participants as soon as they’ve completed the test.
  • Schedule 1 v 1 between each participant and their manager to do a deepdive into their performance.

How do we increase our organization’s data literacy?

Many organizations we work with are looking to increase the level of data literacy. That’s a recognition of how essential a skillset data literacy truly is.

Typically organizations seek to improve their data literacy through first identifying where they need to improve. You can achieve this with a measurement product like Alooba Growth.

With these strengths, weaknesses and benchmarks clearly established, then it comes to putting in place an engaging learning and development plan. This needs to be communicated and sold convincingly internally to get as much buy-in as possible. It’s essential that everyone understands why it’s being done and the value to them personally.

Once the training has been done, it’s time to understand the efficacy of it. This is again where Alooba Growth gives you that impartial, third party measure of your program’s efficacy.

Do you offer data literacy training?

Alooba does not get involved with data literacy training. We remain impartial and it is this independence that allows us to measure the efficacy of learning and development initiatives within organizations. We’d be happy to offer some suggested training resources. Chat to your Alooba account manager.

How do we benchmark our organization’s data literacy?

Alooba has 100000s data points from several years of assessments across various industries, functions, companies and geographies. It’s this robust, and broad-based data set that gives you the most comprehensive understanding of your organization’s data literacy.

We have some data literacy training - how do we assess its efficacy?

That’s great you’re taking a data-informed approach! With Alooba Growth, you can conduct before and after assessments to understand where your employees have improved (or not!).

These scores give you an impartial assessment of your courses’ efficacy.

Training and L&D are normally ongoing efforts, so you can assess your employees through time.

Do you have a checklist for assessing our team for data literacy?

We sure do. Reach out to your Alooba account manager to learn more.

Why not just survey people and ask them for their training needs?

Unfortunately, humans are not the most self-aware people. We aren’t aware of our own strengths and weaknesses. This is one of the many reasons why screening candidates based on their CV just doesn’t work, for example.

You need to actually validate peoples’ skills with an assessment.

Alooba Data Literacy Test Candidate FAQ

Is it worth improving my data literacy?

Basically any role nowadays calls for some basic data literacy skills. The demand (and to be honest, requirement) for this skillset will only increase in the future as more and more things become digitized, opening up a greater supply of data.

How do I include data literacy skills on my resume?

Feel free to take our free data literacy quiz. You can include the results on your CV to validate your data literacy skills.

How do I practice for the Alooba data literacy test?

We’d recommend taking the free data literacy practice test here.

You can also try the free data analysis test which involves some practical application of data literacy.

Can I get a data literacy test certificate or badge?

If you score well on an Alooba assessment, feel free to share this performance on your CV. Your results link is emailed to you after you complete your assessment. You can include this in your CV to signal to employers that you have already validated your data literacy skills.

Do you have a free data literacy test?

Yes we sure do, you can take the free Alooba practice data literacy test as much as you like.

How can I level up my data literacy skills?

Perfect practice makes perfect, as they say. Put down the books and pause the YouTube videos, and start actually practicing.

Here’s 8 practical tasks to help improve your data literacy right now:

  • Download your Netflix data and create a basic visualization. How many hours a week on average do you watch Netflix? Is there any seasonality in the data? How did you identify it? What are the top 3 genres that you watch?
  • Find the A/B test for a website experiment. Can you interpret them correctly to make the right decision?
  • Download a company’s financial statements and do some basic financial analysis. Calculate their profit margins and P/E ratio, for example.
  • Find a visualization and see if you can correctly interpret it.
  • Try and explain to a small child the difference between a mean and a median.
  • Create a Google form or Surveymonkey to collect some important data. And then, see how the form was actually used by participants. Did you learn something about data validation?
  • Notice the next time your colleague take’s an average of average, ask them about this. Why does this (generally) not work?
  • Looking to extend yourself - why not build a table in a database to store this data? How do you store it? Why?

Check out our free data literacy test here. Take this free Statistics test to extend yourself and then try the free data analysis test, where you’ll learn data wrangling, aggregation, filtering and more.

Where are the data literacy test answers?

In order to retain the integrity of our assessments, we do not release answers to our questions. This is part of our commitment to fairness and objectivity in hiring. Reach out to your Alooba account manager to learn more.

How can I assess my own data literacy?

You can take a quick free data literacy quiz here. Looking for more tests? Why not ask your L&D team to reach out to Alooba and sign up for Alooba Growth?

Do you offer a data literacy certification?

Feel free to take our free data literacy quiz. You can include the results on your CV to validate your data literacy skills.

Learn More About Alooba Now

Find out how you can leverage Alooba's data literacy tests to improve your organization's data literacy.