RD445 - Summary of the Redesign of the School Performance Report Card - November 2015
The School Performance Report Card was first provided to the public in 1999, as a result of the Virginia Board of Education’s adoption of the Regulations Establishing the Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia (Standards of Accreditation) in 1997. These regulations in 8VAC20-131-270 promote communication with parents and communities through the requirement of the annual provision of a School Performance Report Card. Information to be provided includes assessment and accreditation results, graduation and drop-out statistics, experience and qualifications of school staff, and other elements, such as attendance rates, student advanced studies achievement, student achievement related to industry certifications and assessments, and school safety. In addition to the Standards of Accreditation, federal and state laws have shaped what is conveyed through the Report Card. For example, the school accountability measures implemented through the Elementary and Secondary Education Act are reported.
In 2013 and 2014 legislation was enacted by the General Assembly which required the Board of Education to develop an A-to-F grading system to be used to report individual school performance, using a single grade or a series of grades, by October 1, 2016. As the Board reviewed plans for the development of the grading system in the fall of 2014, members expressed the need to give a representation of schools to the public that could include multiple facts in multiple areas. The Board discussed the A-F grading system and felt that it was not the best or the most appropriate way to represent the complicated and contextual situations of schools. The Board indicated the revision of the report card would be a better means of communication than the A-F grading system. A complete picture of a school that included information important to parents presented in an easy-to understand, visually engaging format was the priority. The Board recognized that the revision of the School Performance Report Card would provide a comprehensive set of information to describe multiple facets of school quality. At their October 2014 Retreat, the Board discussed the redesign and improvement of the existing report card and expressed their intent to achieve a clear and easily understood tool for communicating school and student performance reflective of the varied educational and informational needs of students, parents, educators, and communities.