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Idaho’s new online report card gets high marks nationally – again

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MGN Online

BOISE, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) – Idaho is one of three “States to Watch” highlighted in the latest Time to Act report from the national Data Quality Campaign (DQC).

“This really speaks to our responsiveness to public input in making school and student data accessible, understandable and usable to everyone,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra said. “We carefully considered school and community needs as we developed this report card, and we’ve the response from educators and parents has been enthusiastic. It’s also encouraging to receive such positive national recognition.”

The December DQC report, “Connecting Policy to Practice to Make Data Work for Students,” spotlights Idaho’s State Department of Education (SDE) for its effectiveness in all four of DQC’s policy priorities.

  • Measure What Matters: Idaho’s report card ensures that stakeholders get a complete picture of school performance, including teacher workforce data and measures of student, parent and staff engagement.
  • Make Data Use Possible: Idaho aligns report card data with the needs of local leaders, enabling continuous improvement planning on the local level.
  • Be Transparent and Earn Trust: Idaho seeks to reach all communities by providing an easy-to-navigate site with school quality data beyond what is federally required.
  • Guarantee Access and Protect Privacy: Idaho uses varied strategies to maximize data transparency and protect student privacy, offering explanations for why certain performance data – for example, if the measured group is fewer than 10 students – must be withheld.

In April, DQC released a “Show Me the Data” report, which highlighted Idaho as one of three states with report cards that “stood out for making considerable progress since our last review.” The group singled out Idaho for making its new Report Card easier to navigate, and for offering Spanish translations and performance data from new subgroups, including students in military families, foster care and homelessness.

 “DQC is a national leader in evaluating education data policy and reporting, and for Idaho to be recognized twice in one year is outstanding – especially considering that our new online report card is only a year old,” Superintendent Ybarra said. “The report card is a vital part of our accountability plan under the Every Student Succeeds Act, and this reinforces our belief that we’re on the right track.”

One of the goals of the report card redesign was to reduce red tape, making it easier for schools and districts to put the focus on helping students rather than producing paperwork. DQC noted Idaho’s success with that goal in the December report, noting that “state leaders have decreased the burden on local leaders and allowed for more targeted decision making.”

The year-old report card is aportal into the results of Idaho’s new state accountability plan, approved by the U.S. Department of Education last yearThe plan identifies schools that are underperforming so the State Department of Education can partner with local school leadership teams to identify specific supports and plans for improvement. The plan also celebrates schools’ successes and provides educators additional tools for measuring growth.

The site provides information about multiple student performance indicators, offering context in addition to the data on topics such as teacher retention and whether students are meeting grade-level expectations. Users can easily navigate the site for assessment results and a wide range of other information including school demographic information, educator workforce, enrollment and student engagement.

“The report card is a great tool for communication with families and schools,” Assessment and Accountability Director Karlynn Laraway said. “I hear from district and school board leaders who are using this information to engage communities in conversations that focus on continued improvement.”

Article Topic Follows: Education

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