Mansfield school district website will detail student performance

MANSFIELD -- A new website will offer a detailed look at students' test performance over a period of years, a tool that Mansfield school administrators say will help the district shape curriculum and allow parents and teachers to better focus on children's individual academic needs.

By the start of the new school year, parents should be able to log in to to access a summary of their children's individual test scores, including TAKS tests and end-of-course tests, from a period of three to six years, administrators told school trustees during their meeting Tuesday night.

The site, still in development, will also provide performance data for specific classrooms, individual campuses and the district as a whole to help gauge how students are measuring up to state and national education standards, officials said.

Parents currently receive copies of their children's test scores but the reports do not show past scores to help compare whether a student is progressing or is continuing to struggle in one or more subjects, said Teresa Stegall, the district's director of research, assessment and accountability.

"They may not remember three years ago their child was also struggling with math. Unless they are keeping the data themselves, they won't see any patterns," Stegall said. The site "is designed to empower and help parents be better advocates regarding their children's academic needs."

The custom online database was created at the urging of Superintendent Bob Morrison, who has pushed for the district to provide better transparency and easier access to campus and district performance.

"We are not going to be afraid of our data," said Richie Escovedo, a district spokesman. "We can't move forward without knowing where we are."

Just two years ago, trying to compile such data meant searching through file cabinets and drawers, Stegall said.

For teachers, the site will provide detailed reports on how well their classrooms or individual students met lesson and test objectives, which will help determine what subjects to focus their time and attention on and which students may need intervention, Stegall said. Those reports can also be printed and shared with tutors and parents, she said.

"With good information, they can make informed decisions on our kids," Stegall said.

School officials say the site is designed to be user-friendly and that individual student information will be password-protected. Other information expected to be available on the site includes the latest research publications on best practices in education and helpful links for parents and educators.

Susan Schrock, 817-390-7639