The Report Cards provide parents and others who are interested in the public schools in North Carolina with information about school, district and state-level data in a number of areas. These include student performance on tests, teacher qualifications, school safety, class and school sizes and many others. All this information is in one easy-to-use website, NC Report Cards.
North Carolina's legislature and the federal government require schools to issue annual reports to give parents information about important aspects of their child's school. North Carolina has combined federal and state requirements to issue one Report Card for each school, each school district, and the state.
Every principal in the state should print out the Report Card for his/her school and distribute it to parents. Some principals are mailing the Report Card to parents at home, others are including it in newsletters, and still others are holding meetings with parents to distribute the Report Card and to talk about questions parents may have. Of course, any parent or citizen can look at the Report Cards via the Internet at www.ncreportcards.org. Public libraries and other locations with Internet access are available if parents do not have access to the Internet at home or at work.
The information provided with the Report Card snapshot is the same as that provided in the Report Card online. The only difference in the two is the length - the Report Card available online will contain additional data and information about the indicators that were difficult to capture in a printed document.
School Report Card information includes the following types of information: School Identification Information (e.g. school and principal names, address, URL for website, grade range, etc.); School Size (class sizes and course sizes, attendance); School Performance Data (ABCs designations); Student Performance Data (percentages of students by achievement level, trends in school performance, SAT performance); School Safety Data (number of offenses, suspensions and expulsions); Access to Technology and Instructional Materials (students per computer/digital learning device, number of books per student); and Teacher Quality Data (number of teachers, license status of teachers, years of teaching experience, teacher turnover rates). School district Report Cards contain additional information, like: student and teacher demographics, district financial information, and principal qualifications and credentials.
The Report Card website includes guides to reading the Report Card snapshots and a Data Sources and Information Guide. These publications describe what is included in each of the sections and the source of the information. When viewing the Report Card online, use the More Information links near each data indicator to learn more about interpreting and using the data from that indicator.
In 2001, the Report Cards were created through a collaborative effort of the North Carolina Education Research Council, the Governor's Office, and the NC Department of Public Instruction. An advisory group of parents, teachers, school administrators, and others offered input into the Report Card development and the website. Also, each local school system and charter school has a Report Card coordinator who serves as the state's contact for review of the Report Cards at the local level.
Unlike student report cards, there is not an overall rating for each school or the individual components. There are numbers for some items, percentages for others, ratios for others and designations for some. It's important to look at the entire report and to talk to school staff members and parents to learn more about a school.
The Report Card provides nuts and bolts kind of items like the grade range, the ABCs designation, and the number of teachers. It also provides information on the safety of the school, the quality of the teaching staff, the resources available in the media center and other statistics. It does not provide information about special programs or initiatives at a school or the unique qualifications of its staff.
No, because schools can be structured quite differently from one another – in their sizes, the grades they teach, and the programs they offer – Report Cards are not a useful tool for ranking schools. It would be incorrect to determine that one school is better than another based on slight differences between data points.
Ask questions, advocate for additional support and generally get more involved with their local school. The Report Card should prompt parents to learn more about how teachers are assigned, schools are managed and decisions are made. Parents also might want to review their school district's Report Card, which is available online at www.ncreportcards.org.
No, the Report Card is for schools that were open during the 2011-12 school year. New schools this year will have Report Cards when the next Report Card is issued in the fall of 2013.
If you have a specific question about your child's performance or the material your child is studying, consider first contacting your child's teacher. The school's main office can direct your call or provide you with additional contact information for your child's teacher. If you have general questions about the school's performance or the educational priorities at your school, please contact your school principal.