The North Carolina School Report Card has a new website to display data about the state's public schools. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson walked the State Board of Education through the new site at the board's December meeting.
Johnson says the website has been redesigned to be easier for parents and teachers to navigate. Click on a school district and a span of colored tiles for each school appears. Schools are color-coded by whether or not they met their expected growth in student test scores. Johnson says that's to make that measure more prominent.
The interactive site allows parents and teachers to compare their school's metrics side-by-side to state and district averages, or other schools. The Department of Public Instruction’s Communications Director Drew Elliott says that comparing schools’ report cards is nothing new, but that the redesign makes it easier to view comparisons.
“Comparing schools may be useful for parents and caregivers as they inform themselves about their child’s current and future schools,” Elliott said.
The site offers new metrics that show the number of industry-recognized career and technical education credentials earned at high school. Another new feature for high schools and middle schools is a student readiness indicator. The measure shows the level of proficiency in reading and math for students coming into the lowest grade of the school. The measure is based on the student’s previous year’s end-of-grade or end-of-course exams.
“This is a tool that I asked staff to create, and as a former 9th grade teacher, I'm very proud of,” Johnson said.
Johnson said next year, the report card will also include a measure of incoming student readiness for kindergartners, based on an assessment of students in their first 60 days of school. He says that will highlight the importance of quality Pre-K opportunities.
And the site is now mobile-friendly. Johnson said the website is meant to be a resource for parents and teachers that provides more transparency in an easy-to-use format.
The Department of Public Instruction cautions the school report card cannot tell the whole story of a school and that the data should not be used to rank schools, since schools are structured differently from one another.