Tell policymakers the bottom line: parents deserve accessible, straightforward answers about how their schools are doing.

Why School Ratings?

Minnesota collects a lot of information on student and school performance, but it’s often hard to find, organize, and use. The result is that many families have a hard time knowing how well their school or district is doing, and if their child’s needs are being met.

More than 40 states have adopted, or plan to adopt, “summative” school rating systems to address this, which typically uses a number of stars or a 1-100 rating scale to tell families and the community how well schools are performing. School ratings compile a wide range of data the state already collects, including math and reading scores, student progress from year to year, graduation rates, and other measures of school quality, and summarizes them with an understandable rating.

School ratings may not be the only source of information families use, but they are still an essential tool, and important first step, to help families make sense of how a school is doing. A well-crafted rating should be the entry point to a more detailed performance dashboard that allows parents to understand the components of the rating, along with many other factors that tell the story of a school. The Minnesota Department of Education is working now to build a strong dashboard; adding an overall school-performance rating will help make it more accessible to families.