The DC School Report Card Has Lots of Great Information. Here are Four Ways the School Quality Report Benefits Families

Released for the first time in December 2018, the DC School Report Card is a brand new resource offered by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) for families to better understand school quality. Both DC Public Schools (DCPS) and public charter PK-12 schools are evaluated on the School Transparency and Reporting (STAR) framework, allowing current and prospective families and community members to compare the programs and strengths of options across the city.

While we believe that the success of public charter schools’ depends on their ability to be flexible in producing unique, innovative programs that meet the diverse needs of DC learners, we also share the STAR framework’s goal of informing families about the common academic qualities of quality schools. That’s why we first released the School Quality Report (also referred to as the Performance Management Framework or PMF) back in SY 2010-11, as a way for families to compare public charter schools based on core measures of quality and academic success. The 2017-18 school year marked the 8th year of publishing the results.

The PMF and the STAR framework measure public charter school quality in many common ways and the DC School Report Card includes many additional details (such as school schedules, safety information and extracurriculars) that can help families find quality schools. However, DC PCSB’s School Quality Reports also offers plenty of information to better understand the diverse offerings of DC public charter schools; here are four ways you can use the School Quality Reports to do just that.

1.Discover the Quality of Programs Educating Adult Learners in DC

The DC School Report Card includes valuable information about all DC schools, but only measures the academic quality of PK-12 programs who educate grades 3-12. The Adult Education School Quality Report measures program effectiveness of eight adult charter programs currently educating more than 4,000 students by tracking student progress, student achievement, progress on mission-specific measures, and leading indicators of attendance and student retention.

For the first time in SY 2018-19, our School Quality Reports will feature overall scores for adult education schools on a scale of 0-100 (as is currently done for all PK-12 schools), allowing the community to better interpret performance across categories and helping prospective students better differentiate the quality of program options.

2. Learn about the Academic Achievement and Growth of Early Childhood Students

PARCC, the state assessment for DC students, is administered to students in grades 3-8 in DC, resulting in many schools educating and specializing in early childhood grades not earning enough points to earn a STAR rating. On the School Quality Report, however, these schools earn an overall PMF score by selecting early childhood assessments that best fit their academic program and measuring the gains that students are making in all these grade levels.

Our staff works year-round with schools and assessment publishers to determine how to appropriately and fairly measure student progress and achievement on these assessments. We require all schools educating grades PK3 - 2 to report on the progress in reading and math for those students, and many schools also select socioemotional evaluation tools to reflect the progress of students in their school environment. These results are displayed at the top of the School Quality Report for these early childhood schools and are a helpful way of informing families if these schools are getting students on track to success in future academic grades.

3. See the Performance of High School Students across All Grade Levels

The STAR framework and the high school PMF both emphasize the importance of high school students meeting DC standards through the PARCC assessment and college readiness benchmarks on national assessments such as the SAT and Advanced Placement (AP) tests. The School Quality Report for public charter high schools, however, also go beyond those core measures to reflect learning, achievement and college readiness across all high school grade levels.

On the School Quality Report, schools report on additional measures that can help families understand the strengths of public charter high schools. For instance, DC PCSB does a complete annual review of all high school students enrolled at the end of 9th grade to determine if each student is on track to graduate according to the requirements of his/her schools. Additionally, the College and Career Readiness measure on the HS PMF credits not only AP results but also dual enrollment credits at universities and certifications in career and technical education, offering a glimpse into the many ways that public charter high schools are preparing students for the next steps in future pathways.

4. Compare the Performance of Public Charter Schools Over Time

The DC School Report Card can help families find a lot of information about school resources and program quality, but was released only for the first time in fall 2018. If you’re looking to see more of a track record in your search for understanding the quality of DC public charter schools than use the School Quality Report too.

    

Each School Quality Report includes a PMF score and tier history for each public charter school over the past five years (with the exception of SY 2014-15, when DC first transitioned to the PARCC assessment). As a result, these reports can serve as a helpful tool for getting a sense of the trajectory of each school and can inform families and community members on how well the school is doing toward its academic charter goals. (A charter lays out a school’s mission, academic goals, fiscal guidelines, and accountability requirements.)

Key Takeaway

Overall, the School Quality Report and the DC School Report Card offer some overlapping and some unique ways of measuring DC’s public schools. We encourage families to use all resources available to them when considering academic choices, including speaking and visiting a public charter school. You can search for public charter schools based on location, quality, and characteristics on our website (https://www.dcpcsb.org/find-a-school) and find the school’s contact information, websites and much more.

 

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