Everyone deserves to know how their public schools are doing, and states are responsible for creating that clear picture.
In summer 2016, the Data Quality Campaign set out to discover what information we could easily find on state report cards from all 50 states and DC, how it was displayed, and whether it was accessible and understandable to a broad public audience. From a simple internet search, we explored whether statewide information can be easily found by parents, educators, and members of the community—not whether information exists anywhere, buried under many pages of a website. Our findings show that while all states create annual aggregate report cards for the public with important data about how their students statewide are doing, these reports are often difficult to find and understand. As a result, people can’t find information they need. It shouldn’t be this hard.
Read our analysis below of what we could find in report cards from all 50 states and DC.
Show Me the Data:
State Report Cards Must Answer Questions and Inform Action
- Share this report. Start a conversation in your state about our findings and compare them to what you can find.
- States should consider developing policy that supports state report cards that meet stakeholder needs. See an example from Illinois.
- The Every Student Succeeds Act presents an opportunity to create report cards that actually meet communities’ information needs. Learn more.
- Read our recommendations on publicly reporting state data to ensure that every community understands how schools and students are doing.
To view the entire set of data we used in our analysis, see our data file.
Using a basic internet search engine, DQC staff searched for each state report card using the term “[state name] state report card.” Within aggregate statewide report cards, we looked for categories like ease of access, format, and required data elements. We encourage you to try our scavenger hunt to see what information you can find in your state’s report card. Our findings are intended as feedback to spark a conversation about how findable and useful state report cards are—and could be—for everyone.
The data included does not reflect any updates to report cards made by states after DQC’s review. For more detailed information, please see the methods section included in our data file.