CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KWWL) — An online reporting system for Iowa schools rolled out new updates today, that provide the public with more information regarding how schools rank in comparison across the state.
The online report card called the Iowa School Performance Profiles was launched in December after the federal education laws required the system to replace the No Child Left Behind Act.
The Performance Profiles provide information on a school’s overall performance scores based on measures outlined by the Every Student Succeeds Act which was adopted by Iowa lawmakers in 2013.
Performance scores are evaluated based on state assessments, graduation rates, demographic information, and more.
“It shows a bigger picture of schools beyond just proficiencies based on a standardized assessment. It also shows the demographics of a school and who are the children that attend that school,” said Cedar Rapids Community School District’s Deputy Superintendent, Noreen Bush.
Demographic information makes it easier to see how different subgroups, for example, African American students are doing versus their peers in areas like proficiency in math.
“For students wether, they’re free and reduced lunch, perhaps they’re transient or homeless, perhaps it’s an ethnic group or racially diverse groups. Those particular categories that may have been subgroups formally in the No Child Left Behind Act, it was very difficult for us to celebrate their growth and now this new formula or particular profile is much more equitable,” said Deputy Superintendent Bush.
The Performance Profiles can also be a tool for parents looking for top scoring schools across the state. Although Deputy Superintendent Bush said school choice often comes down to the teacher, family relationships.
Bush said the profiles have also been useful for educators to see how other schools, with similar demographics, are improving in areas where they fall behind.
“We can actually learn from each other. What are you doing to help this particular indicator? And actually, folks are actually calling us, here in Cedar Rapids. They see some movement in our reading data for example in elementary and they’re asking us what’re you doing to make such a difference,” said Bush.
Additional updates to the site announced by the Iowa Department of Education include additional information such as student suspensions, chronic absentees, and a feature to compares schools and districts by performance.
According to the Cedar Rapids School District profiles show that 19 schools in the district improved, seven remained the same, and five dropped by one point on the performance scale.
Three schools, Johnson STEAM Academy, Jackson Elementary, and Metro High School showed significant improvement.
However, Iowa did recently change their standardized test so it’ll take two school years to be able to compare data on how they’ve done on the new tests.