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Iowa School Report Card

The Iowa Department of Education released the Iowa School Report Card, a new web-based system to evaluate and rate each public school based on performance on a required set of measures, such as student attendance and graduation rates.

The system meets a legislative requirement and aligns with Department efforts to provide Iowans easier access to meaningful education statistics, to hold schools accountable for student progress, and to support local efforts to improve schools.

“The Iowa School Report Card makes it easier for Iowans to find and understand important information about how their schools are doing,” said Ryan Wise, director of the Iowa Department of Education. “While this tool doesn’t tell the whole story about our schools, it is a valuable source of information that Iowans can use to celebrate successes and to ask questions about how to improve and support their local schools.”

The Iowa School Report Card, which is available at www.educateiowa.gov/schoolreportcard, assigns schools one of six ratings: Exceptional, High-Performing, Commendable, Acceptable, Needs Improvement, and Priority. Schools are grouped by comparable grade configurations (elementary, middle and high schools).

The ratings are based on each school’s performance over a two-year span on the following educational measures:

·         Proficiency: The percentage of students scoring proficient or better on state reading and mathematics assessments.

·         College and Career-Ready Growth: The percentage of students who are making the year-to-year growth necessary to be ready for college and career training by the end of high school.

·         Annual Expected Growth: The percentage of students making a year of academic growth in a year’s time on state reading and mathematics assessments.

·         Closing Achievement Gap: A measure that reflects a statewide goal of narrowing the gap in achievement for students with disabilities, students who are eligible for free and reduced-price meals, and English Language Learners.

·         College and Career Readiness: The percentage of students who score at or above a level of performance on reading and mathematics assessments that predicts a higher probability of postsecondary success. (Middle/high schools only.)

·         Graduation Rate: The percentage of ninth-grade students who finished high school within five years. (High schools only.)

·         Attendance: The average daily attendance of students, which is the total number of days students were enrolled and present divided by the total number of possible attendance days.

·         Staff Retention: The percentage of teachers, school administrators and other licensed staff members who remained employed in a school over consecutive school years.

Iowa School Report Card scores and ratings are based on data reported by school districts for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years. The scores and ratings, which will be updated annually, apply only to public schools – districts do not receive ratings. No consequences or rewards are tied to the school ratings.

The Iowa School Report Card delivers on a component of the comprehensive education reform legislation adopted by Iowa lawmakers in 2013. The legislation, House File 215, directed the Department to develop a process to evaluate the performance of each school on certain measures and to “arrive at an overall school performance grade and report card” that is posted to the Department’s website. In its development phase, the Iowa School Report Card was known as the “Attendance Center Rankings” system.

Wise said the Iowa School Report Card also fits with the new Every Student Succeeds Act – the successor to No Child Left Behind – which restores the balance between the role of states and the federal government in education accountability.

The Department sought extensive input from education stakeholders representing teachers, school administrators and others throughout the development of the Iowa School Report Card. Improvements to the site’s methodology and functionality will continue over time.

“We provide data in the spirit of accountability and transparency, as well as in support of efforts to improve schools and to prepare students for success,” Wise said. “Data and information are critical partners in those efforts. At the same time, each school has an individual story that cannot be told through numbers and ratings. I encourage Iowans to connect with their community schools to get the full story.”


Staci Hupp Ballard



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