Access, Indicators, State Advocacy, Transparency

Show Me the Data: DQC’s Annual Analysis of Report Cards

Show Me the Data: DQC’s Annual Analysis of Report Cards

Since 2016, DQC has looked at report cards for all 50 states and the District of Columbia and published our analysis in Show Me the Data. We do this because report cards should provide parents and the public with information about the outcomes of students and schools in their state. But if information that helps paint the full picture of student success and school quality is missing, hard to find, or impossible to understand, families are left in the dark. Here are the resources that can help states use report cards as a tool to prioritize continuous improvement.

Show Me the Data 2022

States Have Lost Momentum on Improving Report Cards

During this time of recovery from education disruption, access to data is more valuable than ever. Families need the timeliest possible information on how schools are serving students so that they can make decisions for their futures. But states haven’t kept up their end of the bargain by providing this information to the public on their report cards and the US Department of Education hasn’t used its resources to help states push beyond a focus on compliance.

  • This year, DQC is taking a deeper look at our Show Me the Data review. The 202021 school year left families with more questions than ever, and state report cards were not up to the task of providing families with the information they need. This loss of momentum in state report card improvement is unacceptable. These deep dive resources provide a closer look at three areas of report cards and unpack exactly why these concepts are critical to serving students and families. 
    • Data for Equity: Without disaggregated data and information on other equity-focused indicators, families cannot truly understand how their students are supported in the classroom.
    • Making Data Meaningful: Report cards remain hard to use and understand, states must prioritize ensuring that families can use their state’s report card to make decisions for their students.
    • Postsecondary Pathways: States should prioritize collecting and sharing information on all of a student’s postsecondary readiness opportunities and outcomes in ways that help students make the best decisions for their futures.

Show Me the Data 2021

In a Year Like No Other, Report Cards Remained the Same

As states’ most-public education information resource, report cards have the potential to serve as a central location for families to find the information they need. But in 2020, a period of significant education disruption, states did not act on the opportunity to use report cards as a way to help families and the public understand and evaluate how the pandemic was affecting student learning.

Show Me the Data 2020

There is No Finish Line for Report Cards

Leaders must prioritize publishing the information that families and communities need and deserve on their report cards. And there is no finish line for this work. State leaders must continuously evaluate whether the tool they have created is meeting the needs of their audiences and providing clear, understandable information about school quality and student progress. DQC’s 2020 review highlights the progress states have made to provide meaningful, easy-to-understand information to families through their report cards and the areas where leaders still have more work to do.

Show Me the Data 2019

States Have Seized the Opportunity to Build Better Report Cards, but the Work Is Not Done

2019 is the first year that states should be reporting out the information required by the Every Student Succeeds Act. Prompted by policy change and national attention, states have invested in updating their report cards, and as a result many states have made progress. But even with investments in better report cards, every state must improve.

Show Me the Data 2017

States Can Improve Report Cards This Year

DQC’s 2017 analysis found that the landscape of report cards is much the same—many reports were still hard to find and use. But states have made important progress in the types of information they make available. DQC provided four action steps that states can take to improve report cards right now.

Show Me the Data 2016

State Report Cards Must Answer Questions and Inform Action

DQC conducted a comprehensive review of report cards, looking at the summative, statewide reports for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Based on our analysis, we reported that states were missing important opportunities to communicate about state education priorities and school quality because reports were hard to find, full of jargon, and missing important data. The findings teed up a conversation among states and partners about how to improve transparency.