Updated Iowa School Report Card

The Iowa Department of Education has released updated data and several new features in the Iowa School Report Card.

The new features include two new categories in the “Closing Achievement Gap” measure, which now includes data by race and ethnicity. It also includes results of a survey of teachers on parent involvement in their child’s school and education.

The Iowa School Report Card rates individual public schools, but not school districts. Answers to frequently asked questions from parents about the Iowa School Report Card are available here and a quick guide is available here.

The current list of schools format is easier to navigate than previous versions, but I think it could be vastly improved by allowing schools to be selected for side-by-side comparisons (schools within the same district, schools with similar demographics). The DE could also improve navigation by allowing the user to open a window that displays all of the schools for a selected district.

Another shortcoming, I think, is calculating a single achievement gap with all subgroups together, rather than an achievement gap for each subgroup as it can mask some particularly awful achievement gaps for some subgroups of students if other subgroups are performing relatively well, or vice versa. It might also be more useful to see math and reading proficiency as separate indicators, rather than aggregated together. See also the problem of reporting school by school, as data for subgroups with fewer than ten students must be redacted. However, I suppose no one said the rankings had to actually be useful, just that they had to be done–though I see now that the DE describes the Iowa School Report Card as “align[ing] with Department efforts to provide Iowans easier access to meaningful education statistics and to pair accountability and support for schools.”

Here are the current ratings for ICCSD schools (linked to school report page, which will open in a new window):

Exceptional (none)

High-Performing

Commendable

Acceptable

Needs Improvement

Priority

Tate High School and Alexander Elementary are unable to be rated.

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