Skip Navigation

Effectiveness of strategies for presenting school report card data to parents


Description: The Every Student Succeeds Act requires that state education agencies disseminate school report cards that provide information about school performance, but leaves considerable latitude for how the report cards are designed. The design of information displays like school report cards can have a substantial effect on users. REL Mid-Atlantic is working with the District of Columbia Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) to test the impacts of different design factors such as:

  • Measure display size
  • Granularity of reported proficiency scores
  • Use of informative axes on line graphs
  • Presence or absence of a school picture
  • Presence or absence of a school mission statement
  • Listing or affirmation of school amenities

The goal of this study is to provide guidance about how these design choices influence comprehension of school report card contents and user experience.

Research Questions:
  1. 1. How do design decisions influence parents' satisfaction with the report cards?
  2. How do design decisions lead to differences in objective measures of understanding information within the report cards?

Study Design: OSSE will collect data for the proposed study from parents or guardians of school-age children living in Washington, DC. OSSE will use a combination of existing networks, community organizations, mailing lists, and community meetings to identify members of the target population and ask them to participate in the study.

The study will examine the impact of choices made for the studied design factors through an experiment. In this experiment, participants will view report cards that can vary in the factors we are investigating. Each participant can view up to two visually distinct report card designs. Across the entire sample, we will examine all possible combinations of design choices. After displaying each report card, we will measure parents' comprehension of information presented in the report card and their self-reported evaluations of the designs. The findings from this study will provide evidence of how different school report card designs affect usability.

Projected Release Date: Fall 2020

Partnership or Research Alliance: Accountability in the ESSA Era Alliance

Related Products: Making an Impact

Data management plan: View, download, and print the Data Management Plan as a PDF file (426 KB)

Principal Investigators & Affiliation:
Steve Glazerman, Mathematica Policy Research
Jesse Chandler, Mathematica Policy Research