The Every Student Succeeds Act requires your school district and state to release a school report card every year. The report cards include important information about school environment, student demographics and academic performance on the state, local and school level. Although the reports need to be accessible to every parent, the information doesn’t always speak for itself. Getting familiar with this information can help you turn these reports into results for your child’s school.
It is PTA’s mission to ensure that parents and families are meaningfully supported and engaged in their children’s education. We are committed to helping parents understand, interpret and advocate for meaningful, understandable and transparent education information.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and extended school closures, every state was granted a waiver for state tests in spring 2020. Without state test data, some of the information used to measure a school’s performance—such as proficiency/performance and growth—is no longer available and states will have to determine how they will measure other required information on school report cards such as attendance rates and chronic absenteeism.
Despite some incomplete data due to school closures, states are still obligated to report data and schools and districts are still responsible for serving all students well and ensuring the school is making progress in the areas needed. Student and school level data is now more important than ever as states make decisions about how they will measure performance and the impact of school closures on student progress.
After reviewing some of the materials in Steps 1-3, go to Step 4 to learn more about how you can engage with school leaders on what’s next for student assessment and school reopening for the 2020-2021 school year.
Here are four steps on how you can learn more and take action:
Step 1: Why Does Education Data Matter?
To understand your child’s educational experience, you need to know more than just their test scores. By exploring information about your school, you can gain a deeper understanding of their day-to-day life at school and also have specific insights into what you want to change. Here are some resources to help you understand why education data matters to you:
Step 2: Finding the Information
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) puts a special emphasis on making sure parents are empowered to engage in their children’s education. One way the law makes that happen is by making education data accessible to all parents and families through school, district and state report cards. Here are some resources to help you find important sources of education data such as ESSA report cards.
- Click your state on our interactive map to find links to ESSA report cards
Step 3: Interpreting What You Find
These report cards include information that reveal some important details about your child’s school. The information available includes deep insights that go far beyond test scores. However, to find the most interesting information you may need to take a closer look. Here are some resources to help you understand and interpret education data:
Step 4: From Information to Improvements
Without complete data for the 2019-2020 school year, states will need to find new ways to demonstrate school and student performance and address learning loss caused by school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Parents must be a part of this conversation and be able to work alongside school and district leaders to ensure school closures do not adversely affect students, especially those from historically underserved populations.
Here are some resources to help you ask the important questions of your school and district leaders as schools begin planning for the next school year. You can use these in a variety of ways: schedule a small group conversation with your school leader or host a virtual PTA meeting—or virtual town hall—with your district superintendent. Choose the resources that best fit the needs and context of your PTA.
Getting Ready for your Discussion:
Asking the Right Questions
After the Discussion: