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New school assessment system unveiled

Posted: Wednesday, Mar 15th, 2017




Called easier to use, more comprehensive



WATSONVILLE — California education officials on Wednesday unveiled an online tool designed to serve as a report card for schools and a reporting system for student test scores.

The California School Dashboard measures schools and districts based on areas such as suspension and graduation rates.

It also features math and English language arts scores for students in grades 3 through 8.

In addition, the data shows how English learners have progressed from previous years.

The schools and districts are ranked by five colors, with blue being the best and red the lowest.

Significantly declining dropout rates, for example, or increasing graduation rates, would give a blue ranking.

Future iterations of the website will include information about chronic absenteeism and college/career readiness, when that information becomes available.

Districts will also be ranked on somewhat nebulous items such as whether they are implementing academic standards, parent engagement and whether teachers have adequate materials. Those newly added aspects of the assessment are reported by individual districts.

The Wednesday rollout of the site came four years after ended the Academic Performance Index, which was based on a single test and rated schools based on a single number.

“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 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.”

Because schools and students are now being assessed on multiple indicators, CDE officials say school officials can better identify disparities among student groups and get a more complete picture of a school’s status and improvement over time.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson called the launch a “historic milestone” in preparing students for success in 21st century college and careers.

“The California School Dashboard is a resource unlike anything we’ve ever had before,” Torlakson said. “I think of it as a high-tech report card for our schools. Just as our children receive report cards with multiple grades in multiple subject areas, the California School Dashboard provides us with many different measures of a school's performance — where it's strong, where it needs to improve, how it's doing over time."

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For information, visit www.caschooldashboard.org.

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