State leaders continue to demonstrate that progress is possible when it comes to designing report cards that are useful for parents and communities. Since DQC’s January 2019 review of report cards from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, many states have released updated report cards. Florida, Massachusetts, Montana, and Oklahoma are among the states that have enhanced these resources to make data about students and schools easier to find and understand. Here are some of the highlights:
- Florida made its report cards easier for more families to understand by translating them into Spanish and Haitian Creole. The report card is currently a beta version, and Florida leaves room for future enhancements by providing a feedback link to make it easy for users to provide comments.
- Massachusetts made it easier for users to navigate the state’s expansive data by creating a parent-facing landing page that links directly to more detailed data, including achievement data for all required student groups and per-pupil expenditure data. The report card is easier to use because it is mobile friendly and organizes key data points by common questions a parent might have.
- Montana made its report card data easier to find by centralizing it in a single report. State leaders prioritized visual displays that include comparisons to state and district data, which helps users put data about their school or district into context, making it easier to understand.
- Oklahoma updated its report card to be an interactive, one-stop-shop for users, positioning it as a resource for all things education data. State leaders designed it with parents in mind: they can explore outcomes further by linking to a parent portal that enables them to see their child’s test score data.
Like some of their peers, these states seized the opportunity to build better report cards. But like other states, there is still more they can do to paint a full picture of how well schools are serving the needs of every child. In particular, states must make sure that report cards include all the data that is important to parents (like information about school safety and student pathways after high school) and that information about how schools serve different groups of students is easy to find an understand. States should also include tools that help parents and community members make meaning of the data, so they can use it to take action for their child.
If you want to explore what you can find on these or other state report cards, use DQC’s scavenger hunt, which will take you on a tour of a report card through the eyes of a parent. For more information about state progress on designing their report cards, see resources on DQC’s Show Me the Data.
As state leaders take the summer to plan for the next school year, they should prioritize continuous improvements to report cards based on feedback from parents about what is and isn’t working. With this input, state report cards will continue to evolve into tools that drive meaningful action to improve school and student outcomes.