State Report Cards, What the Data Quality Campaign Found
If you have been following the FE Coalition’s work for the past few years, you will already know that in December of 2015, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed into federal law. The implementation of ESSA represented a significant shift of control over education policy from the federal government back to the states, confirming their responsibility to determine and improve standards of education and to develop their own accountability systems that measure student progress and school performance. Each state releases a yearly report card that attempts to provide parents and the public with meaningful information about students and schools, without which families and communities would be left in the dark.
For a third year, the Data Quality Campaign examined the report cards from all 50 states and the District of Columbia to see how well state leaders are using report cards to provide the public with quality information that can in turn be used to make informed analyses and decisions.
Here are 5 highlights from the Show Me the Data Report that we at the FE Coalition think you should know:
- 25 states do not include required data on the number of inexperienced teachers, teachers with emergency or provisional credentials, or out-of-field teachers in a school. Though we recognize the time it might take for teachers to hone their craft, this data point is important because low-performing schools are more likely to hire these kinds of teachers. The classroom-teacher is arguably the most important factor influencing student success. If a school is only hiring inexperienced teachers and the like, the school is more than likely keeping its students at a disadvantage.
- 35 states do not translate report cards into languages other than English. With so many parents that speak Spanish or another foreign langue as their primary language, having a report card in their own language would welcome them to the education conversation and allow them to understand the school and district their child is learning in.
- 41 states do not include disaggregated achievement data for at least one federally required subgroup. When states fail to provide disaggregated data on subgroups, groups such as Hispanics, African-Americans, or male/female, we run the risk of masking any shortcomings that a particular subgroup may be experiencing. For example, a school may report 85% of its students as “proficient,” but if the school predominately serves White students who are 90% proficient, we may not know that only 65% of the minority group of Hispanics students are proficient.
- 31 states have mobile-friendly report cards. Most families, including many Hispanic families, use mobile devices as a primary means of accessing information on the web. Mobile-friendly report cards means mamá y papá can see the state report card while on the go.
- 42 states have state report cards that can be found within the top three results of a simple internet search. Go to Google. Type in your state name and “report card” (i.e. “Texas Report Card”). Hit search. If you see a link to your state’s report card, you live in one of these 42 states. If not, send me a note and I’ll see if I can help you locate it. The more readily and easily the public can access important school data, the more we can improve our public education system.
We at the FE Coalition are thankful for the work that organizations like the Data Quality Campaign do for education. For more statistics and a full report, please visit https://dataqualitycampaign.org/showmethedata/
For a Just education system,
Rev. Girien Salazar
Director, FE Coalition