Again this year, the Analytics Challenge is brought to you by the Institute for Business and Information Technology (IBIT) at Temple University. If data analysis/business analytics is your forte, review this year’s challenge and get your data game on to compete for awards in two overall categories – graphic and analysis. Details on deliverables, deadlines and how to enter your submission in the competition are provided in each use case. Teams or individual entries are welcome.

Scholastic Analytics Challenge

What will the children’s book market look like in the future?

Scholastic is a major international publishing, educational, and media company with a focus on books and educational materials designed to support children’s literacy and cultivate a passion for reading and knowledge which will continue throughout life. Scholastic’s mission is driven by its credo LINK which articulates this goal for the company.

Scholastic has many different channels through which it distributes the books it publishes. At times these channels work collaboratively to reach new customers in different ways, but at times there can be significant overlap between these channels. Through analyzing the interactions of these channels Scholastic seeks to better understand the children’s book market, vis-a-vis demographics, geography, genre, and price.

In the spirit of Scholastic’s mission of cultivating learning, the provided data is presented in a realistic manner, as a small snapshot of Scholastic’s sales between two separate distribution channels across the nation. In an effort to make this a realistic scenario, the data presented is not fully cleaned and there are many additional interesting variables which it is the job of the analyst to identify and evaluate.

Start your analysis by answering question 1 below, and then answer at least one or more of the remaining questions.

  1. What trends do you see in the data, among / demographics, genre/ theme, and price?
  2. What does the data suggest about Scholastic’s distribution channels, and how would you recommend structuring a distribution strategy?
  3. What other publically available data can you append (Census, state, region, etc.), to provide further insight?
  4. Formulate a unified strategy for marketing between the two channels.
  5. Where are there areas of significant overlap between the channels, and what strategy do you suggest to prevent unintentional competition between channels?

*Please note that the distribution channels have been intentionally obfuscated as CHANNEL 1 and CHANNEL 2. The data selected should be considered a representative sample of the differing activity of both channels in delivering products to consumers.

Data Dictionary.xlsx

What you should submit

  • The story: A graphic that reflects the major findings of your data analysis.
  • It must be a static image in PDF format
  • No interactive content will be accepted (such as JavaScript or videos).
  • It can be in the form of charts, diagrams, or an infographic.
  • The background page: A brief description, one single-spaced page or less, describing what you prepared for the analysis and graphic.
    • Highlight how your analysis helped you arrive at your conclusions.
    • Highlight how your graphic illustrates your key findings.
  • The one-page description must also be in PDF format. There are free tools that do this, such as PDF Creator.

How you should submit

  • Email your entry to by 11:59 P.M. US Eastern, February 21, 2020.
  • Attach the graphic and the description as separate files to a single email message with the subject “Entry for Analytics Challenge”.
  • The following must be clearly displayed on the graphic and on the one page-description: each team member’s name and college/university name.
  • Convert static graphics to PDF format. The one-page description must also be in PDF format. There are free tools that do this, such as PDF Creator.

What happens after you submit

  • You will receive a confirmation email acknowledging your entry.
  • Finalists will be notified by email on or around March 2, 2020.
  • Finalists will present their work in front of the judging panel at the AIS SCLC March 26 -28, 2020.

Other Rules

  • The project submissions must entirely be the work of the project team. While faculty and other individuals can help review the submission, they should not contribute to the content of the report or the solution.
  • Incomplete submissions will not be considered, so make sure you have all of your submission deliverables are in the submission package.
  • The contest materials must be submitted by the due dates. Late submissions will not be accepted and no extensions will be given.
  • Your University/College must be an AIS member organization
  • Timeline

    All preliminary submissions must be recieved no later than February 21, 2020.
    Finalists will be notified on or around March 2, 2020.
    The winner will be revealed at the Student Chapters Leadership Conference between March 26 -28, 2020.

  • Prizes

    Entries from all use cases will be judged together. Prizes will be awarded based on the following two categories: graphic and analysis. The judges will evaluate all entries for their graphic and analysis qualities. Prizes will be awarded for each category separately and an entry can only win in a single category.


    First place – $2,000

    Second place – $1,000

    Third place – $500


    First place – $2,000

    Second place – $1,000

    Third place – $500

  • Questions

    Questions should be directed to

    *To compete as an AIS team or individual, you must be an officially recognized chapter or a member of an officially recognized chapter. Forming an AIS Student Chapter at your institution is easy, but can take as much 6-8 weeks to complete the process depending on your university policy and procedures so get started today. For more information on how you can start a chapter, contact Dr. Rhonda Syler, AIS Vice President for Student Chapters, at


How entries will be evaluated

All entries will be evaluated by the judges in two categories: visualization and analysis. The finals will also be judged by industry professionals.

The specific criteria for each category are:


  • Clarity (how well the graphic stands on its own without additional explanation)
  • Novelty/creativity (originality of thought; surprising way of approaching the data)
  • Insight (graphic aids understanding of the data)
  • Utility (ability of the graphic to aid decision making)


  • Relevance (analysis relates to the problem statement)
  • Completeness (degree to which the analysis answers the stated question)
  • Depth (sophistication of the analysis)
  • Consistency (conclusions consistent with the analysis)

Your entry will be disqualified if…

  • It is submitted after the deadline.
  • The attachments won’t open or are in the wrong file format.
  • The submission is incomplete.
  • Team member names and college name are not on both the graphic and the description.