October 9, 2012
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Introduces School Quality Snapshot
New Online Accountability Tool Provides Transparency for Parents and Public
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today unveiled California's School Quality Snapshot [Note: the most recent School Quality Snapshot is for the 2013-14 academic year] (PDF; Posted 09-Oct-2012), a new online accountability tool that puts school test scores, class size, fitness levels, and graduation rates for all 10,000 public schools statewide at the fingertips of parents and the public.
"Until now, parents had to scan more than a dozen different Web pages to compile this much information about their child's school. The School Quality Snapshot brings it all together in real time—in a colorful and concise format that's easy to follow and understand," Torlakson said. "It's a significant step forward in transparency and accountability for parents and the public."
The two-page Snapshot provides a five-year overview of information about each school and its performance on key indicators, all accessible through the California Department of Education's Web site. CDE staff from the Analysis, Measurement and Accountability Reporting Division and the Technology Services Division collaborated to develop the Snapshot using existing state resources.
Parents, teachers, administrators, and all members of the public will have access to the Snapshot for any school in the state. And the Snapshot provides state- and district-level data for comparison purposes.
Information about a school's performance on the Academic Performance Index is a focal point of the Snapshot and can be found at the center of Page 1. Continuing on Page 1, on the left-hand side, are five years' worth of a school's California Standards Test (CST) results at the proficient-and-above level for English-language arts, mathematics, and science. And on the top right, a pie chart visually summarizes a school's enrollment by race/ethnicity. Underneath are diagrams showing subgroup enrollment and also average class size.
On the second page are CST results for history/social science, the percentage of students in the Healthy Fitness Zone from the Physical Fitness Test, the percentage of graduates meeting University of California "a-g" requirements, the cohort graduation rate, suspension and expulsions as a percentage of enrolled students, Average SAT scores, the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) English-language arts grade ten passing rate, and the CAHSEE mathematics grade ten passing rate.
The Snapshot will be formally released Thursday as part of the state's annual report on school accountability.
"No amount of information, no matter how it is compiled, tells the full story of what's happening in our schools," Torlakson said. "But one of our goals in developing our Blueprint for Great Schools was to give parents and the public more information about student learning and school success, and the School Quality Snapshot is a step in the right direction."
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Tom Torlakson —
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100