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Data Scoreboards

Why Scoreboards are Needed

Possibly the greatest impediment to local school improvement is the lack of any real accountability to the local community. For decades, pollsters have found that people may have misgivings about the quality of public education, but they think that their local schools are the happy exception.

The chief reason for the widespread nature of this view is that what most people know about their local schools comes from the schools themselves.

Schools—like virtually any organization—are intent on creating a positive public image. They accentuate the positive and ignore or excuse the negative, and their image is often a huge barrier to improvement. Individuals and organizations are not likely to commit themselves to improving something that is either unrecognized or unacknowledged.

The good news is that this barrier can be overcome, but it requires the relevant facts about school performance to become common knowledge, i.e. visible to anyone interested enough to look.

Here is where the Data Scoreboards shown below play a vital role in empowering consumer engagement in local schools. Like scoreboards at a sporting event, they enable even the most marginally informed observers to know whether the team is winning or losing and whether to cheer or boo.

Community engagement in school quality issues requires leadership, leadership can’t happen without a scoreboard that lets everyone in on the conversation.

School Ranking Charts

Tennessee was the first state to systematically gather and disseminate district and school-level value-added data in 1995.  It was and is the most statistically sophisticated methodology in use.  The Education Consumers Foundation was the first…

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Achievement vs. Growth “Birdshot” Chart

Tennessee Growth vs. Achievement “Birdshot” Chart Tennessee schools are measured on two things: achievement, seen in TCAP and ACT results; and growth, seen in TVAAS (i.e., value-added) results. For the first time, parents and interested others…

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Are Tennessee’s Children Learning to Read?

Reading is the most essential skill that children learn in school. It is taught over a 4-5 year period that begins in preschool or kindergarten and extends to 3rd grade. Beyond 3rd grade, schooling turns…

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Reading Proficiency vs. Poverty (by district)

District-level reading proficiency rates reveal a clear relationship with student poverty. Some districts beat the odds, however.

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Per Pupil Spending vs. Achievement Growth (by district)

As has been demonstrated in many studies, student achievement gains are unrelated to spending. The present graphic displays 2011 data from Tennessee.

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School Districts Ranked by Teacher Effectiveness

In Tennessee and a few other states, teacher effectiveness can be assessed on the basis of the student achievement gains of their students.  ECF has a chart that ranks school districts by the effectiveness of their…

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Education Consumers Foundation

1655 North Fort Myer Drive, Suite 700
Arlington, VA 22209
Phone (703) 248-2611
Fax (703) 525-8841

ecf@education-consumers.org