Shelby County Schools has released its first-ever report card designed to help parents make informed decisions about where to send their children.
The new “school performance scorecard” allows parents to examine school-level data and compare it to other Memphis-area schools in Tennessee’s largest district.
Whether run by the district or a charter organization, each school is graded on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being the lowest and 5 the highest. The grades are based on academic achievement, student growth, graduation rates, ACT scores, and other factors like attendance and suspension rates.
The pie charts below show how those factors are weighed in each school’s overall score.
The tool uses the same data that the state uses in its annual report card, which was released earlier this month and allows parents to examine schools and districts statewide. But Shelby County Schools’ version provides local context, according to Superintendent Dorsey Hopson.
“Oftentimes, we are measured with artificial or arbitrary numbers from the state that could have a school that does very good work but they get an F or a D slapped on it and that doesn’t tell the full picture,” Hopson said. “So we believe that as we compare our schools against other schools in the district, we’re able to tell a better story.”
The new tool also debuts as the Tennessee Department of Education prepares to issue A-F grades on all Tennessee schools this summer in compliance with a new state law. While proponents say the new state grades will provide greater transparency about school quality, critics worry that the system will unfairly stigmatize low-performing schools, which typically serve more disadvantaged students.
Shelby County Schools plans to update its scorecard every fall after state testing data is released. To view individual school report cards, search here.
For context about the new tool, you can read our primer and watch the district’s video below: