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ESSA: Are States' School Report Cards Accessible to Parents?

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The Every Student Succeeds Act placed a lot of new requirements on states when it comes to student data. Advocates—and the U.S. Department of Education—want that information to making student easy to find and understand.

So how are states doing when it comes to data transparency? And are they measuring the things that matter to parents and the public?

The Data Quality Campaign, a Washington-based advocacy organization, found in a report released Wednesday that 58 percent of parents said they had checked out their child's school report card in the past year. Of those that did not, 40 percent didn't even know the report cards existed. And 32 percent of the parents who hadn't seen the report card didn't know where to find the report cards. 

What's more, as of last, only nine states translated their report cards into languages other than English. And many were written at a level requiring some college education.

"Parents and community members cannot use information they have trouble understanding," the report said.

DQC also found that 28 states report some sort of measure of student growth on their report cards, and 22 report college-enrollment rates. Another 32 states report some sort of measure beyond school ratings on the report cards.

Only three states—Colorado, Indiana, and Tennessee—passed laws to make sure educators have the data they need on students who are likely to move around, such as homeless students and children in foster care.

Most teachers—86 percent—say data is an important part of being an effective teacher. But 57 percent say they don't have time during the school day to use and access it. In 2018, 10 states passed laws that require them to provide or report new data to districts.

Want to learn more about the Every Student Succeeds Act? Here's some useful information:


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