Introduction: Online school report cards are not new in North Carolina. The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) has been

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1 Introduction: Online school report cards are not new in North Carolina. The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) has been reporting ABCs results since In 2001, the state General Assembly asked the NCDPI to issue report cards for every school to inform parents and the public about school performance, teacher qualifications, school safety, and school resources. At about the same time, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (also known as No Child Left Behind,) was moving through Congress. When the Elementary and Secondary Education Act was reauthorized in 2002, it mandated that every state issue school, district, and state report cards for student performance data and teacher qualification data. The NCDPI, in partnership with the Office of the Governor, the NC Education Research Council, and an advisory committee of parents and educators began developing the school report cards in The North Carolina School Report Cards were first released in

2 North Carolina issues three different levels of Report Cards: Individual school Report Cards contain information about a specific school. District Report Cards feature averages of data from schools within a district to reflect district performance. A state Report Card contains information and averages for of data from all public and charger schools statewide. You can find North Carolina s Report Cards online at: 2

3 We hope you ll leave this presentation better able to: Find the Report Card information that interests you and make sense of the data when you find it; Think of ideas for how you might use the Report Card, and how the Report Cards can help you improve education in your community; and Navigate the website to find the Report Card data you are interested in viewing. 3

4 During this presentation, we ll navigate the Report Cards website together and highlights some of the site s capabilities. We ll also go over the School Report Cards by looking at specific state- district- and school-level data. The Report Cards contain information about: Student performance; Teacher qualifications and; School resources and climate. Both school and district Report Cards provide valuable and useful information about students, schools and teachers that you should share with your community. At the conclusion of the presentation, we ll discuss some ways you can share this data. 4

5 GO. When you go to the Report Cards homepage (www.ncreportcards.org), here is what you ll see first. At the top of the page you will see links to school or district Report Cards. If you know the name of the school or district whose Report Card you want to see, type the name into the QUICK SEARCH and click View a list of schools in a particular area by using Search. List Use the map search to find schools and/or districts by geographic location. This search is helpful if you need to view school data from neighboring districts but you don t have those district names. If you are interested in looking at schools with similar features, use the custom search to create a list of schools that fit certain criteria. Use the custom search to sort School Report Cards based on what you want to see. You can also access the state-level Report Card from this page. 5

6 Let s use the list search to find a school. Looking at the right side the list search gives you the ability to look for a school or a district using four different lists (shown in bright blue text): a list of district names; a list of county names; a list of cities across North Carolina; and and a list of all the charter schools in North Carolina. As an example, I ve chosen Ashe County Schools from the list of school districts. When I select Ashe County Schools and click the search will return a list of all the schools in Ashe County that includes links to each school s Report Card. 6

7 So, here are the results of a list search for Ashe County Schools. At the top of the screen, we can see the Search results for Ashe County Schools. Do you see that circled in red? Next, choose a specific school by clicking on its name. This takes you to that school s Report Card. 7

8 Right now, we re looking at a generic Report Card header, but you ll see data from specific schools. First let s look at the general information and contact information. In the center of the header, you ll see the school s name and the principal s name. On most Report Cards, these are linked to the school website and the principal s address. You will also see on the School- and charter-school level pages contact information for the school s Prior Principal. The Prior Principal will be the last individual listed in the EDDIE system as of June 30 of the reporting year You also might find Welcome Letter below these links. The Welcome Letter gives a principal or district superintendent an opportunity to highlight local achievements and challenges for a school or district. The header contains the school s address and phone number and the name of the district where the school is located. The header includes the grade range of the school in this example the school is Kindergarten through Grade 5. You will also be able to see the type of calendar the school is on. In this example, the school is a Regular school, instead of a magnet or charter school, and the school is on a traditional school calendar meaning it is open roughly August June. As you well know, some schools in North Carolina are on yearround calendars. This is where you find information for a specific school. You also can choose to view the district s Report Card or the state Report Card from this page. When you open a school s Report Card, you begin on the School Profile page. The four tabs at the top of the page are like a table of contents click on one of those to access data contained under that heading. For example, to view student performance data, click on the tab for High Student Performance. 8

9 Let s start with the High Student Performance tab. There are two types of information on the school-level Report Card that will show you if your school is meeting performance standards. These data include: Student academic performance by grade and demographic group, and Data for school performance according to the state s ABCs standards. 9

10 The data in this table show the percentage of students scoring at or above grade level on end-of-grade tests. On a high school Report Card, this table would show end-of-course test results instead of results sorted by grade level. To get an idea of how well this school s students are performing, compare school-level percentages with the district and state averages. In this example, at each grade level, students are performing above the district and the state averages. Looking at the All Students (all the students tested in this school), 86.2 percent of students scored at or above grade level on their reading test. That is almost 10 percentage points above the district average, which was 75.9 percent, and about 7 points above the state average, which was 79.5 percent. District and state averages are customized for each school s Report Card. These numbers reflect the average student performance in schools with grade levels similar to the Report Card you are currently viewing. This gives you an apples to apples comparison. 10

11 Let s look at student achievement from another angle. The Report Cards help identify achievement gaps in a school or district. Achievement gaps are differences in student performance that can be seen when data is viewed by demographic subgroups such as race or ethnicity. Using this table, look at the percentage of students who passed state end-of-grade tests sorted by demographic group instead of by grade level percent of white students, 69.2 percent of black students, 62.7 percent of Hispanic students, 87.5 percent of the Asian and 66.7 percent of students who identified themselves as Two or More Races passed these tests. Performance data can also be viewed by: gender (male, female), economically disadvantaged (abbreviated E.D), not economically disadvantaged (abbreviated N.E.D), limited English proficient (abbreviated L.E.P.), migrant students, and students with disabilities. Talk to school principals about strategies your school is using to close achievement gaps. Be careful in using district and state comparison data. The averages the Report Cards provide are useful for making some types of comparisons, but they are only reference points. 11

12 You cannot judge a school s performance or success based on student test scores from only one year. Test scores are valuable as a measure of what students actually know compared to what they are expected to know at their grade level. But one year of test scores can t show if student performance is generally improving. To get a better idea of whether or not a school is improving, read the Report Card s performance graphs which highlight a school s performance trend. Look for upward progress as a sign that your school is improving what students know and are able to do. This graph illustrates how student reading performance in this school improved dramatically over a three-year period. 12

13 As part of the state s ABCs of Public Education accountability system, North Carolina measures student and school achievement using the end-of-grade and end-of-course tests and student growth. Each school s evaluation is based on: the percentage of students scoring at or above grade level on state end-of-grade or end-of-course tests the growth, or increase, in the percentage of students performing at or above grade level from one year to the next. 13

14 This table shows this school s performance under the state s ABCs school accountability model. The yellow highlighted bar indicates the school s performance level and ABCs designation. In this case, the school was awarded School of Distinction designation because percent of students scored at or above grade level on end-of-grade or end-of-course tests. The check mark indicates whether or not the school met its expected growth for the year. Each year, the state uses a formula to determine what percent of students should be at or above grade level in the next school year. Schools that meet or exceed that percentage set by the state are considered to growth. make To see how other similar schools in the district or state fared on the ABCs, look at the columns to the right of the table. Those columns show the percent of similar schools in the district and the state that were received each of the possible ABCs designations. --BACKGROUND INFORMATION The Report Card does address whether or not a school has met the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (also known as No Child Left Behind) standards if it receives Title I funds: This federal legislation requires yearly reports of school academic progress. 14

15 Some educational opportunities depend upon the resources available in a school. You should know what resources are available to students in a community when you measure school performance. Compare the resources available in one school to other schools in a district and in the state. Are the library materials up-to-date compared to other schools in the same district and in the state? Ask a school principal for help in understanding instructional priorities and the distribution of instructional resources at a school. We provided some questions to consider about a school s health awareness programs and practices and the level of parent involvement at a school to help initiate further discussions with stakeholders. 15

16 In addition to resources, school climate can also affect student and school performance. School districts are required to report incidents of crime and violence occurring on school property this includes incidents on school buses, at school bus stops, and during off-campus school activities. When students feel safe in their schools, they are better able to learn and they are more likely to attend school. The Report Cards cover a couple of key measures of school climate: safety and attendance. The Report Cards track school safety through counts of incidents that occur on school property or at school events. The number is reported as Acts of Crime and Violence per 100 Students. The number of incidents is important, but so is knowing where, when, and what incidents occurred. To find out, and what you can do to help, talk with a principal. The Report Cards provide the figures on out-of-school suspensions that were short-term and long-term, as well as expulsions. School safety can influence student attendance, but let s first look at attendance as an important part of academic achievement. When students are absent, they miss instruction. Frequent absences make it harder for students to master knowledge and skills in the same amount of time as the rest of their class. School attendance rates usually look high when you read them as a percentage. Here, the school has a 96 percent attendance rate compared to a state average of 95 percent. But, in numbers, those rates might mean more to you. For example, if this school has 1,000 students in it, at a 96 percent attendance rate, means 40 students or two classrooms - aren t in school every day. And at the state average of 95 percent attendance, 50 students in a school of 1,000 aren t in class each day. When you talk a principal, ask if the same students are absent each day. Repetitive absences are a larger concern in terms of school performance than periodic absences for reasons such as a doctor s appointments. 16

17 Last, but definitely not least, the Report Cards provide information about teacher qualifications. Measuring teacher qualifications is very complex. Teacher qualifications and more generally, teacher quality can be assessed objectively, with data provided in the Report Cards. But subjective measures of teaching are also important to teacher quality. Some of the important measures of teacher quality that are hard to put numbers on are: Do the teachers in the school care about children? Can parents reach the teachers to talk about their children? Do teachers keep parents informed of how their child is doing in school? Do teachers treat students with respect? Many subjective measures of teacher quality can not be captured on the Report Cards, so it is very important to supplement this information through other sources. 17

18 Full licensure is an indication of the level of formal teacher training an educator has completed. Teachers who have entered the profession from alternate careers and teachers who have been hired on an emergency basis do not have full licenses. One of the important provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (also known as No Child Left Behind), is a requirement that all teachers of core academic subjects must be Highly Qualified. Highly Qualified teachers are generally: 1. fully licensed (also called certified) by the state; 2. hold at least a bachelor's degree from a four-year institution; and 3. demonstrate competence in the subject area(s) they teach. The standards for Highly Qualified only apply to teachers in core subject areas: English, reading, language arts, mathematics, science, foreign languages, civics and government, social studies, economics, arts, history, geography, and Kindergarten through grade 6. This includes special education and English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers. Non-core subject area teachers are not affected. If your child attends a school that receives federal Title I funding, you may ask your school district about the qualifications of your child's teacher. You may request the following information: 1. Has your child's teacher met North Carolina's teacher licensing requirements? In what areas is the teacher certified/licensed? 2. Has your child's teacher had any licensure requirements waived? 3. What degrees does your child's teacher hold and with what academic majors? In addition, if your child attends a school that receives federal Title I funding, you must be notified when your child is taught a core academic subject for four or more consecutive weeks by a teacher who does not meet Highly Qualified standards. 18

19 The Report Cards allow you to compare the percentage of teachers with advanced degrees in a school with averages from similar schools at the district and state levels. Use the district and state averages as reference points in reading school-level data. Remember that these averages only provide data. It would be a mistake to judge a school as "better" or "worse" based only on slight differences in these data. A lack of an advanced degree does not mean a teacher is unqualified. The Report Cards include the total number of staff in a school, including teachers, administrators and counselors, who have received national certification. National Board Certification is a voluntary way for teachers to seek additional professional credentials that recognize their advanced teaching skills and techniques. Report Cards indicate the percentage of classroom teachers with 0-3, 4-10, and greater than 10 years of teaching experience. Look at the distribution of teaching experience in a school. Are the majority of teachers new, or very experienced, or are experience levels well-balanced? Teaching experience is often associated with professional expertise, but it is best to consider this data in the context of additional information. A school s administrator can provide further insight into the teaching expertise of the staff. You might also want to know why teaching experience is distributed as it is in a school. Have a number of experienced faculty members retired in the last couple of years? Is the school newly opened, requiring a large number of new hires to staff the school? Has the school experienced a leadership change which was accompanied by teacher transfers? 19

20 All of the information covered on a school-level Report Card is also contained in a district- level Report Card. The district Report Card provides averages of school information for every grade, K-12. The district card can be very helpful if you want to get an overall look at schools in a particular district. Information is displayed by school level: elementary, middle, or high school, or it is displayed by grade level. At the school level, district and state averages are specifically formulated to compare a school with other schools that are similar to it in grade range such as K-5. But at the district level, data can get lost in the averages. So district Report Card is structured to show data at every school level. If you have questions about the data in a district Report Card, contact the district s central office. Every district has a school Report Cards coordinator. The district superintendent is the person to talk to if you are interested in using the district Report Card data for school improvement or community engagement efforts. 20

21 By displaying data by the grade or school levels you can assess the performance of students in a district at each grade level. Do some grade levels stand out as exceptionally strong or weak? Talk to district administrators about past student performance at those grade levels. Use those discussions with administrators to involve community and business leaders to see how they can get assist those students at particular grade or school levels who may be struggling. If the district has larger-than-average classroom or school sizes, this might be a good opportunity to involve the community in developing strategies to assist educators and administrators in those schools. 21

22 Another area highlighted on the district Report Cards is finances. How is money spent for schools in a particular district? The first graph outlines how much money is spent per student (dollar amounts are on the left of the graph), and the proportion of total spending per student. Both types of information are shown for a district and for the state. For an estimate of total spending per student, add the dollar amounts for the local, state and federal bars together. Use the same method to estimate the state's average spending per student. Does a district spend more or less money per student compared to the state average? The second graph highlights the distribution of expenses required to run the schools in a district on a dayto-day basis. Only school operating expenses are displayed here; for example, the percentage of a school district's budget used to pay salaries and benefits to teachers and other staff members and the percentage of the district budget that used to buy purchase services such as professional development programs for teachers. Generally, state and federal education dollars are spent in specified areas or on specific programs since those funds are identified by requirements made in various laws. Local education funds are typically more flexible and are often tailored to the specific needs of local schools and communities. 22

23 The district Report Cards examine principal qualifications in addition to teacher qualifications, and provide information in: 1. principals by demographic group; 2. principals with advanced degrees; 3. years of experience; and 4. principal turnover. Look at the demographic information to see what percentage of principals are male or female and in which racial/ethnic group principals classify themselves. Use this information to learn more about racial/ethnic diversity in a school district. The district Report Cards allow comparisons among the percentage of principals with advanced degrees at the district and state levels. Principals are required to hold a master s degree in order to become licensed in this state. An advanced degree is any degree above a master's degree. Look at the distribution of principal experience in a school district. Are the majority of principals new, very experienced, or are experience levels well-balanced? Ask questions about the distribution of principal experience in the district. Has the district experienced a large number of principal retirements in the last couple of years? Has a district opened new schools that require hiring additional principals? 23

24 In addition to the district Report Cards, you can also look at the state Report Card for information about North Carolina public schools. The state Report Card is organized differently than the school and district Report Cards to include: Statewide data for student performance, AMO results and teacher qualifications. ESEA School Status Lists. North Carolina s ESEA Flexibility Request provides the State with waivers to certain provisions of No Child Left Behind (NCLB). As part of its differentiated recognition, accountability, and support system, NC has identified a list of schools as Reward, Focus, and Priority. Reward Schools are schools that have demonstrated high student achievement or high student progress over a number of years. Districts with schools identified as Focus and Priority must implement interventions to assist at-risk students in meeting the State s high academic achievement standards and graduate students on time. The main objective of the state Report Card is to highlight the current year s data and the previous year s data and to compare the change in student performance based on increase or decrease in percentages points between the two. 24

25 The state Report Card includes data for the statewide population of different groups of students or teachers measured by the school Report Card, and compares data from the current year to the previous year. For example, in the first table you see the performance of different student groups who scored a 3 or better on end-of-course tests. The second table displays the number of classes taught by highly qualified teachers statewide. Use the data from these tables to start discussions with your district or school administrators to learn what they are doing to close learning gaps among student groups, or to learn more about the teachers working in the schools. To learn about student performance, view student performance grouped by gender, race/ethnicity and other factors at each of the four performance levels (Levels I - IV) by clicking on the triangle symbol beneath each table. Use these tables to see how many students in a school are above grade level, or to see what percentage of students are just below passing and may need extra assistance. 25

26 The Report Card data can help you initiate informed discussions about public education yet they are not meant to be the only measure by which a school s or district s success is evaluated. Draw conclusions carefully based on both data and discussions. As useful as the Report Cards data can be, remember that these data are only part of the picture of school performance. The school Report Cards cannot measure other important attributes of a school such as the school staff members care and concern for the for children and those factors are important to overall school success. Be aware of outside factors influencing data: student/staff reassignment, new administrator(s), magnet programs. A number of support documents are available for understanding and using the Report Cards. The Department of Public Instruction publishes: How to Read Your School s Report Card, Questions and Suggestions for Parents on the NC Report Card, and Questions and Suggestions for Community Leaders on the NC Report Card. You can also find a guide to reading the Report Cards which contains technical information, and answers to frequently asked questions at the main Report Cards website at 26

27 Use the district and state averages on the Report Cards for general comparisons, but do not use those data as a yardstick for measuring schools.. While a school Report Card provides useful information about the current performance of a school, it does not provide an absolute indication of whether or not one school is performing better or worse than other schools in a district or the state. District and state averages provide relative points for reference. Evaluating school performance requires the inclusion of additional measures that the Report Cards are not able to capture. If you are relying on comparative data to draw a conclusion, be sure you understand how the comparison for that particular indicator(s) is structured. Information about comparative data can be found in the Guide to Reading Your School Report Card. 27

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30 Use this slide to start audience discussion. Ask audience members to generate ideas for sharing the Report Cards with parent groups, business and civic groups, policymakers, etc. Ask audience members to discuss how to use the Report Cards to improve schools. 30

31 A number of support documents are available to help you use and understand the Report Cards. Use the document How to Read Your School Report Card so you can become a pro at navigating the school-, district and state-level Report Cards. If you want to know more about the history and background of the School Report Cards, check out the General Overview of the NC School Report Card. Question about the School Report Cards website? Take a look at the Frequently Asked Questions document to see if your question is addressed here. Run across a term you don t understand? Look it up in the School Report Cards Glossary. The What s New Release document highlights new indicators and what has changed in the School Report Cards for the current year. Want to get technical? Check out the Data Sources and Information Guide to learn more about the data sources used in the School Report Cards The following resources are available. Once you understand all of these data, it is time to start discussions about the Report Card results with other parents, school leaders and educators in your community. To help you begin these important conversations, review the Questions You Ask about the North Carolina School Report Cards document for both parents and community leaders. 31

32 Thank you! 32

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