The California Department of Education today, Dec. 6, released the updated School Dashboard, the state reporting system for public schools first introduced a year ago.
Several years in the making, the Dashboard provides school districts, educators, families and communities a comprehensive report card on key indicators of progress identified as critical to student success in school. The indicators include test scores, graduation rates, chronic absenteeism, suspension rates and college/career readiness, as well as four local indicators.
This year’s Dashboard incorporates a more user-friendly design, with a revised color-coded ”score card” format, with two of the metrics – Chronic Absenteeism and College/Career Readiness – appearing for the first time this year.
In the Berkeley Unified School District, academic performance district-wide improved in both English language arts and math. Berkeley also recorded improvement in other key indicators, including students suspended from school and the graduation rate. And while overall progress was positive, there are also indicators showing that more work remains to be done in closing the achievement gap for some groups of students.
Each rating, or score, is determined by two factors that are given equal weight: the latest available measure of performance (called “Status”) as well as how the performance has changed over time (called “Change”). The colored pie-shaped icons used in last year’s release of the Dashboard have been replaced with a colored dial.
“As the state expands the scope of the information provided by the California School Dashboard, we continue to get a more comprehensive look at our districts in Alameda County and how they are preparing our students, using a multitude of measures,” Alameda County Superintendent of Schools L. Karen Monroe said in a statement. “It is heartening to see the progress being made, yet we also know that we have considerable work ahead to continue to close the opportunity gap. The Alameda County Office of Education looks forward to working with our districts to support them in engaging in this critical work.”
Our district is among a number of districts in Alameda County to qualify again for “Differentiated Assistance” from the Alameda County Office of Education. A state-mandated process, Differentiated Assistance helps districts assess their strengths and weaknesses and develops recommendations to address areas in need of improvement. As happened last year, BUSD will receive the assistance because of low (or “red”) scores on two measures of progress in serving homeless students.
The Dashboard is designed to include a special focus on equity, with results showing performance on various indicators by different groups, including ethnic and racial groups, low-income students, English learners, foster youth and students with special needs. In this way, the Dashboard makes inequities impossible to ignore and helps communities align resources to improve student group performance through the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) process.
A short video from the California Department of Education describes how the Dashboard can help parents, students and educators obtain a richer understanding what additional questions they may want to ask and how to find answers on how our schools are performing.
A short presentation on the updated Dashboard is scheduled for the next Berkeley School Board meeting, which begins at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 12. Information about the Dashboard’s four “local indicators,” which are shaped by BUSD, was presented at the Board meeting on Nov. 14, 2018.