Today, the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) released Building State Capacity for Powerful School Information, a findings report on the recently completed My School Information Design Challenge project to transform school report cards into a 21st century tool with easy-to-understand information for parents, policymakers and the public. The findings report reviews the research that inspired the project, recaps design submissions and highlights the key elements of a high-quality report card. See the award winning designs now.
Patricia Levesque, CEO of ExcelinEd said, “Since we set out on this journey with the ultimate goal of boosting access to useful school-level information, we wanted to do more than award prizes to the top designs. As a result, we’re sharing our thoughts about implications and implementation; we’re offering our expertise and our support. The real power in this project comes next—helping states build capacity to improve their own school information reports.”
Since the project kicked off five months ago, ExcelinEd has brought together experts from across the country to bring attention and energy to the importance of quality, easy-to-understand access to powerful school information. The challenge demonstrated that, to be effective, school report cards must have the following design elements:
- User-friendly interface, including simple informational detail and summaries, customization, easy-to-interpret and the ability to be read on the web, in print, and on mobile devices.
- Functionality that empowers action, allows easy navigation and provides comprehensive and comparable information.
- Creatively visualizing complex performance data and trends.
With the technology available today, such as mobile delivery, custom search and improved data representation capabilities, parents expect a user-friendly experience when reviewing information about their child’s school. However, research from the Education Commission of the States, together with supporting information from ExcelinEd, revealed that many of today’s school report cards are inaccessible and confusing for parents and other stakeholders. The My School Information Design Challenge and the resulting findings report will help states improve their school information reporting, and ExcelinEd will continue to be there for the journey.
ExcelinEd is committed to the next—and possibly most important—step in the challenge process: working with states to reinvent their school report cards. To kick-start state-level efforts, ExcelinEd has shared the winning designs and contact information for the winning designers with state departments of education, policymakers and lawmakers. States have the ability to use and build upon the designs today and can use the findings report to guide them.