Finding out how your child’s school is doing just got easier for Michigan parents.
The Michigan Department of Education rolled out a new Parent Dashboard for School Transparency this month that offers a simpler way of browsing data on your child’s school or schools you’re considering.
New data available
The new parent portal has information on all public schools in the state, divided by individual school buildings. Parents can find three years of test scores, graduation rates, teacher:student ratios, expulsion rates, dropout rates and advanced coursework availability. There’s also information on number of transfers, school support staff, attendance rates and more.
Developed with the input of parents, the new site aims to make school data more transparent, according to state superintendent Brian Whiston.
“Parents asked and we listened,” he says in a press release. “I’m very pleased to make the Parent Dashboard available to parents and other Michigan education stakeholders who want a more complete picture of how their local schools are serving children.”
No more percentile rankings
One thing you won’t find on the parent dashboard, though, is a “ranking” number or percentile for each school or district. This was eliminated with the launch of the new system and the previous Top to Bottom rankings won’t be returning this year, says MDE spokesperson Janet Ellis-Jarzembowski.
You also won’t find an “A” through “F” grade for any schools. Though this feature was considered during the new dashboard planning process, it was never implemented, MLive.com reports. Some advocates still hope to have the letter grades added.
How to make comparisons
Easy-to-read, color-coded graphics on the dashboard let parents visualize how their school stacks up against others in the immediate area, or other schools with similar demographics.
“Families and others can use the dashboard to compare a school’s performance with the average performance of other, similar Michigan schools, including charter schools,” Tom Howell, director of Michigan’s Center for Educational Performance and Information, said in the release. “The site is user-friendly and can be accessed on any computer or mobile device.”
Student performance can also be displayed and organized by gender, race and other factors. For help comparing student groups or schools, a YouTube tutorial is available here. The new website was planned after the federal Every Student Succeeds Act passed in 2015 and each state was given the chance to improve its accountability system. In Michigan, the state board of education heard from thousands of stakeholders in education who wanted to see a system focus on “more than just test scores” and that would be easier to use, according to the press release.
What do you think of the new dashboard? Tell us in the comments!