Press Releases

New Report: Putting Purpose to Publicly Reporting Education Information

New Report: Putting Purpose to Publicly Reporting Education Information

WASHINGTON—October 28, 2014—Quality public reporting of education data ensures everyone with a stake in education—regardless of where they live—has access to the information they need to make the best decisions for students. When public reporting—like state report cards—meets people’s needs, they will be empowered to improving student success.

“The value of data isn’t in its collection but in its use to provide transparency and public accountability and to empower individuals. People can’t use data that they can’t see and isn’t presented in a timely, contextual, tailored manner. This report highlights the progress states are making to ensure quality information is presented effectively to support student achievement,” said Aimee Rogstad Guidera, founder and executive director of the Data Quality Campaign (DQC).

To ensure publicly reported information meets everyone’s needs, the DQC’s new report recommends that state policymakers

  • make education information about school and district performance easy to find, access, and understand;
  • ensure that publicly reported data meet the needs of parents, teachers, administrators, school board members, and the community by ensuring information is timely, comparable, usable, and actionable;
  • make sure public information is transparent, trustworthy, and safeguarded;
  • maintain coordination of information from preschool through higher education and the workforce.

Some states are already on the right track—Illinois gathered nearly 60 focus groups and crafted a strategic communications plan ensuring its new state report card is helpful and accessible to everyone. Ohio, recognizing that different people have different information needs, makes data available on multiple formats with different levels of sophistication.

The District of Columbia, Illinois, and Wisconsin made their information easier to find and understand by listening to feedback about how different users navigated and interacted with their website. Michigan knows that timely data are useful data. The state publishes data as soon as they are available. For more state examples, see the full report.

While much of the work to improve public reporting needs to happen at the state level, the federal government has an important role to play, both in supporting current state efforts and incentivizing future ones.

With quality public reporting,

  • parents can make better decisions about which school is the best fit for their child and advocate for students at their child’s school and local district;
  • principals and superintendents can understand their student performance in context with comparable information, advocate for the needs of their school and district, and better allocate scarce resources;
  • policymakers can demonstrate the progress of ideas that are working, empower constituents to be informed participants, and provide transparency around how public dollars are spent.

Go here to see the DQC’s full suite of public reporting materials, including the report; the infographic summary; the federal spotlight; and resources for parents, administrators, and local school board members.

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Contact: Jon-Michael Basile