California’s future success depends on tapping into the potential of all students, so they graduate ready for college, careers, and life. For schools to reach this goal, teachers, parents and the community need clear and useful measures of progress.
The new California School Dashboard is a key part of California’s commitment to transparency and continuous improvement. As an accountability tool, the Dashboard will provide districts with information about growth over time and help the state identify schools (including charter schools) and districts needing targeted assistance. The new Web site provides parents, educators, and the public with important information they can use to evaluate schools and school districts in an easy-to-understand report card format.
The California School Dashboard is a critical piece of California’s new school accountability and continuous improvement system. The state’s former accountability system—the Academic Performance Index (API)—relied exclusively on standardized tests and gave schools a single score. That system was suspended three years ago.
“The California School Dashboard provides local communities with meaningful and relevant information on how well schools and districts are doing,” said State Board of Education President Michael W. Kirst. “It will help in local decision-making by highlighting both the progress of schools and student groups, shining a light on disparities and helping stakeholders pinpoint where resources should be directed.
“As exciting a development as this is, it’s important to understand that the California School Dashboard itself is a work in progress. It will be a far more valuable tool one year from now and three years from now than it is today as more indicators come online, as feedback is incorporated, and as improvements are made,” Kirst said.
California is field testing this web-based tool designed to help communities across the state access important information about K-12 districts and schools. The site features easy-to-read reports on multiple measures of school success, including test scores, graduation rates, English learner progress and suspension rates. The Dashboard is part of California’s new school accountability system based on 2013’s Local Control Funding Formula. It is the next step in a series of major shifts in public education that have raised the bar for student learning, transformed testing and placed the focus on equity for all students.
The Dashboard will become live later this month, and it is important to remember that the data shown is preliminary and won’t be fully complete for several years.
To learn more about California’s accountability and continuous improvement efforts, visit http://www.cde.ca.gov/dashboard/
In the past, accountability systems for districts and schools relied solely on test scores. But one test taken on one particular day doesn’t provide a complete picture of all the ways schools are helping students succeed.
Think of it this way: you can’t drive a car by only watching the speedometer; you also keep your eye on the road, check the mirrors, monitor the gas tank and pay attention if the engine light comes on. Similarly, the Dashboard provides information on different aspects of student performance, which will give a more complete picture of a school’s progress. The Dashboard also reports on growth to show a school’s trajectory over time.
The Dashboard is deliberately designed to be a work in progress: metrics and reports will be added over time. During the field testing phase, the state will be gathering feedback to make additional modifications.