State revamps annual school report cards


State revamps annual school report cards

9:32 a.m. PDT October 13, 2016

For the second year in a row, the state school report cards won’t have ratings for individual schools. However, state officials said they are working on a new report card that will better highlight strengths and weaknesses of each school.

For years, the state report cards have evaluated various elements of schools and districts and given each school an overall rating on a 1 to 5 scale.

The ratings, intended to summarize the schools’ particular successes and challenges, were based on a combination of factors such as standardized test scores, student achievement, student growth, and the growth of under-served subgroups.

But officials said it wasn’t as representative as they’d have liked, so they are revamping the system.

“Schools are complex. One single letter or grade oversimplifies how schools are doing,” said Jon Weins with the Oregon Department of Education. “(The new design) should provide a much more complete picture of the schools.”

The Oregon Department of Education released the 2015-2016 report cards for the state’s 1,239 schools and 197 school districts Thursday.

The Every Student Succeeds Act, which replaced No Child Left Behind, now grants states increased flexibility to build systems that support local needs.

According to department officials, educators, families and communities have asked for a more “holistic picture” of their local schools — including areas of strengths and areas for improvement — that extends beyond state test scores.

The state plans to redesign the report card to show what each school and district is doing well, and what could be done better.

Kelly Carlisle, assistant superintendent for the Salem-Keizer School District, said nothing will be changed on the district level just because there is no rating.

He encouraged parents interested in using the report to gauge the quality of an individual school to look at the complete report.

“The reports still have just as much information without the rating,” he said.

Carlisle described the document as helpful, saying people involved in compiling the data “want to be as communicative as (they) can in a single document.”

He said he was sad about not having the rating for one reason, however.

“Schools that made tremendous progress (won’t) get to see the number change,” Carlisle said, specifically giving the example of Auburn Elementary School in Salem.

The state dropped the 1-to-5 ratings last year, saying at the time that it would be a one-year hiatus due to the change in state assessments.

The redesigned report card is expected to be implemented by fall 2018, though more changes may come. A two-page wrap up specifically for parents is expected in future versions.

Other new and different things in the reports this year are immunization rates, student wellness policy information and seismic safety training information.

School and district report cards can be found online at

For more information, contact the Oregon Department of Education at 503-947-5600.

Contact Natalie Pate at, 503-399-6745, or follow on Twitter @Nataliempate, on Facebook at or on the Web at

What are you looking for?

There are thousands of data points in the state report cards.

If you don’t have time to read them all, check out these sections in the school reports by topic of interest:

  • Want to know demographics, enrollment, class size or attendance? Look in the“School Profile” section.
  • Want to see how individual schools have changed over time? Look in the“Progress” section.
  • Want to see how your school stacks up against like schools in state assessments or high school achievement markers like graduation? Look in the “Outcomes”section.
  • Want to know how your school prepares your student for further education, or maybe what academic support or extracurricular activities are available? Look in the “Curriculum and Learning Environment” section.

Quick heads up — the district reports are similar, but slightly different.

To find school reports, go to, search for your district and find your school (they are organized alphabetically). You can then select which year’s report(s) you would like and it will download as a PDF.

Published by Natalie Pate

Natalie Pate is a freelance journalist and author based in Salem, Oregon. She wrote about education for more than seven years at the Statesman Journal and now covers education and other topics throughout the Pacific Northwest. She is originally from Colorado and earned her B.A. in Politics and French from Willamette University.

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