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ERIC Number: ED557945
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Jan
Pages: 20
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Data Dashboards: Accounting for What Matters
Rothman, Robert
Alliance for Excellent Education
In 2002, the Monroe County, Georgia, school system was, according to its then-superintendent Scott Cowart, "underperforming." Test scores were low, and several schools faced interventions under the new No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). One decade later, the 4,000-student school district in central Georgia is one of the highest-performing districts in the state. All of its schools met their targets for improving test performance for all students under NCLB for four years in a row, and two were named Title I Schools of Distinction, an annual award bestowed by the U.S. Department of Education (ED). Additionally, community residents voted twice to increase sales taxes to support the school system. The scorecard, which is presented publicly to the school board and displayed in each school, is color-coded, which enables teachers, administrators, and community members to see in which areas the schools are meeting targets and which areas need attention. That enables teachers and school leaders to address areas of low performance and turn them around, according to district officials. At a time when states and the federal government are considering new approaches to replace the twelve-year-old NCLB accountability system, a number of districts around the country are using approaches similar to the one used in Monroe County. These systems, often called "data dashboards," offer a way for school administrators to track performance and hold schools, principals, and teachers accountable. Like an automobile dashboard, a data dashboard provides an array of information about school performance and practices, rather than a single number like a test score, to show whether a school is succeeding. This information enables educators to focus resources and attention on particular problems and, equally importantly, to monitor their own performance and address all issues that affect performance. This paper looks at using a data dashboard system as an alternative method of measuring school and district performance. It discusses ways this approach can address some of the limitations of traditional methods, and considers issues involved in creating an effective dashboard system. It also recommends federal and state policy changes that would make this type of system feasible. Three appendices are included: (1) State Accountability Indices Under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Flexibility Requests; (2) Monroe County Schools CCRPI Balanced Scorecard 2012-13; and (3) 2012-13 School Progress Report for the School District of Philadelphia. [Appendices prepared by Jessica Cardichon, Phillip Lovell, and Donique Reid. Document contains endnotes.]
Alliance for Excellent Education. 1201 Connecticut Avenue NW Suite 901, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-828-0828; Fax: 202-828-0821; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: William and Flora Hewlett Foundation; Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Carnegie Corporation of New York
Authoring Institution: Alliance for Excellent Education
Identifiers - Location: Georgia
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Elementary and Secondary Education Act; No Child Left Behind Act 2001