Communications, P-20W Data, Transparency, Trust

District Graduation Guides Provide a Path to Success for Students

District Graduation Guides Provide a Path to Success for Students

DQC’s latest infographic illustrates one student, Grace, as she confidently attends college knowing that 80 percent of the students from her high school are prepared for credit-bearing courses in college. This kind of information is critical to ensuring that students can make decisions that allow them to meet their goals. It’s encouraging to see that some districts are taking additional steps, working to improve graduation rates and college and career preparation by empowering students, like Grace, with their own data.

District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) recently joined a small group of districts – alongside Chicago Public Schools, Long Beach Unified, and Orange County Public Schools – in releasing “graduation guides” to help prepare students for their college and career options. Graduation guides are customized for every student and contain important information about their current performance and postsecondary options. They include personalized data like whether the student is on track to meet graduation requirements, eligibility for and chance for admission at nearby colleges, and career opportunities available based on the degree or technical certificate they pursue.

Access to high-quality data is critical for students and families, especially when it paints a full picture of student success and school quality. States and districts have typically used report cards, public-facing resources required by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), to provide families with information about the performance of students and schools. DQC’s recent Show Me the Data report highlights the most recent state efforts to make report cards useful for students and families, and found that this information is easier to find and use.

Graduation guides go a step further to provide families not only with aggregate data about a school, but also individual information about their student. In designing graduation guides, districts adopted some of the same best practices that DQC recommends for making report cards useful to parents, including offering versions translated into languages commonly spoken in the district and getting input from the community about the types of information they value.

Graduation guides provide customized data to students and families at a critical point in their education – when they are starting to think about what comes next. Resources like these show that when data tools are designed with students and families in mind, data can truly be used to help students succeed.


This blog post is also available as a story on Medium.