Too Few States Are Transparent in College and Career Readiness Data Reporting

Wednesday, June 14, 2017Printer-friendly version
New Transparency Reports from Achieve show many states do not report data by student subgroups, in a timely manner, or in a way that counts all students

Washington, D.C. — June 14, 2017 — Achieve today released new state college and career readiness transparency reports, which award each state a score on its transparency of public reporting at the state level on several indicators of college and career readiness.

“If we want to move the needle on student achievement, states must first have a clear understanding of how their students are performing,” said Michael Cohen, president of Achieve. “When states aren’t transparent in their data reporting, they do a disservice to educators, parents, policymakers, and most importantly to students. These new reports are intended help states as they craft new accountability and data reporting systems.”

This year, states are reviewing all aspects of their K–12 education systems, including how they collect, report, and display student performance data, as part of their development of state plans under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This process represents a prime opportunity for states to carefully consider the range of possible indicators of college and career readiness and to be more transparent in their reporting of these indicators – even if they are not specifically included in ESSA plans.

To award each state a transparency score, Achieve evaluated states on four criteria for eight different indicators of college and career readiness, resulting in 32 possible points. The criteria were:
• Does the state report data for this indicator?
• Does the state report data by student subgroups?
• Does the state release data in a timely manner?
• Does the state report this data in a way that counts all students?

Achieve asked each of these questions about state reporting on eight different indicators of college and career readiness, including college- and career-ready course of study completion, earning college credit while in high school, postsecondary enrollment, remediation, and persistence, and more. Complete details of the criteria Achieve used to award points in each of these areas are available in the Methodology document.

Scores ranged from a low of just four points out of 32 (earned by Pennsylvania) to a high of 26.25 out of 32 (earned by Minnesota). The average score was 16.7 out of 32, demonstrating that most states still have a long way to go when it comes to transparent data reporting. Nineteen states earned 16 points or fewer. Only two states even report data for all eight indicators of college and career readiness, and no states report all eight indicators by subgroups, in a timely manner, or in a way that counts all students.

“Transparent data reporting is an issue of equity,” continued Cohen. “Failing to report data by student subgroups, for example, can mask severe achievement gaps between students of different incomes or races. Only with a clear understanding and complete picture of student performance can educators and policymakers successfully improve student outcomes.”

The full set of transparency reports can be viewed here. Achieve has also launched an interactive quiz on state transparency that can be taken here.