On Dec. 11, Texas school Superintendents were notified by the Texas Education Agency that the 2013-14 (school year) School Report Cards are now available. Much like a traditional student report card, the concept behind the annual School Report Card (SRC) is to share individual campus academic performance and characteristic information.
If the first objective for Texas Public Education involves parents being full partners with educators in the education of their children, understanding how well our local schools are academically preforming is important.
What can we expect to find in this type of report card? Page one provides five categories of information: 2014 Performance Index, 2014 Accountability Rating, Distinction Designations, School and Student Information, and School Financial Information.
The 2014 Performance Index displays a bar chart showing four performance scores for each school campus. These four scores are; (1) Student Achievement; (2) Student Progress; (3) Closing Performance Gaps; and (4) Post-secondary Readiness.
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The 2014 State Accountability Rating section recognizes most campuses with one of two possible ratings: "Met Standard" or "Improvement Required." The Accountability Rating is determined by the performance scores mentioned earlier. Approximately 85 percent of Texas school campuses are rated "Met Standard."
The Distinction Designation section highlights individual campus achievements by awarding up to seven possible distinction honors. These honors are: (1) Academic Achievement in Reading/English Language Arts (2) Academic Achievement in Mathematics (3) Academic Achievement in Science (4) Academic Achievement in Social Studies (5) Top 25 percent Student Progress (6) Top 25 percent Closing Performance Gaps and (7) Postsecondary Readiness.
These Distinction Designation honors are worth acknowledging because they represent the highest accomplishments when compared to 40 campus peers similar in size, type, and student demographics across Texas.
The middle section of page one provides School and Student Information – data about school attendance rates, enrollment percentages for various student groups, class size averages and more.
The School Financial Information section shares actual financial data from the prior school year. This includes campus, district, and state comparisons on the percent of expenditures for staff, instruction, and per student.
The remaining SRC pages offer detailed data about STAAR scores for each subject and group of students, dropout and graduation rates, SAT and ACT data and more. Overall, the annual SRC provides valuable information about each school campus and is required to be distributed to parents and guardians within six weeks of the notification to Superintendents.
It is important to keep in mind the parent-school partnership when digesting public education reports like the SRC. Without question, these reports make more sense to the reader when definitions and explanations regarding the report’s terminology are provided and understood. School districts have a responsibility to reach out and educate community members in order to add value to the information in these reports – ask questions.
The School Report Card is just one of many tools parents and communities have available to learn, support, engage, and hold districts and School Boards accountable. Make education a priority by taking time to read your local campus School Report Card.
The Texas Education Agency SRC link:
State Accountability Overview - excellent short video [1 min 41 sec] link:
Bobby J Rigues is on the Aledo ISD School Board, a Leadership TASB Master Trustee, and is the founder of "Make Education a Priority."
www.facebook.com/MakeEducationPriority or www.schoolpriority.com