The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) recently released new, redesigned school and district report cards. Massachusetts sees families and the community as important partners in a school's success and spent time listening to parents to make sure the new report cards were designed as easy-to-use tools that provide meaningful information.
What is the purpose of the school report cards?
Massachusetts is required by federal law to annually produce information about school performance for families and communities. Just as a student's report card shows how they are doing in different classes, school and district report cards are designed to show parents and community members how a school or district is doing in different areas. Report cards highlight a school or district's strengths as well as any challenges that need to be addressed in order to make sure the needs of all students are being met.
What type of information can be found on the new school report cards?
The report cards provide a new way of looking at information related to overall school performance. They include information in a variety of areas that we heard from parents are important:
- Student Enrollment and Teacher Information
- Student Attendance and Discipline
- Academic Opportunities
- College and Career Readiness
- MCAS Performance
- School Spending
- Accountability Information
How were families involved in the development of the school report card?
We posted online surveys during the initial and final phases of the report card design process. In addition, we worked with parent advocacy groups across the state to host feedback sessions with parents, to see where we needed to make improvements before the report cards were released.
Why are the school report cards important to families?
The school report card is one of many pieces of information parents receive about their child's education. When looked at alongside other measures like the child's report card, MCAS scores, and classroom work and tests, it gives parents a more complete picture of their child's education.
How can the report cards be used by schools and districts?
Report cards are just one of many tools that principals and district leaders can use to identify which schools are doing well and which schools need more help. This will help to understand the strategies that are most effective in improving student performance and allow leaders to provide support to the students and schools that need it most.
Will the report cards change over time?
Yes! This is just the start. We will work with parents, educators, and community members to improve the report cards over time so they continue to meet the needs of Massachusetts families.