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