Rockwood’s ‘vision scorecard’ measures student achievement, other factors
By: Carol Enright
Rockwood parents who have grown accustomed to accessing their children’s grades online will soon be able to check out how the district and its schools are performing through digital “vision scorecards.” And Rockwood administrators want parents to know that these digital tools promise to be a game changer in empowering school principals and teachers and, ultimately, improving student achievement.
Dr. Karen Hargadine, Rockwood’s executive director of pre-K and elementary education, said parents should think of the vision scorecard as “our district’s report card and our measuring stick.”
Jim Wipke, executive director of secondary education for the district, said developing the measures on the scorecard began with one question: “What defines a successful school in Rockwood?”
A quick look at the district vision scorecard, which can be found on the Rockwood website (rockwood.k12.mo.us/aboutus/scorecard), shows four areas of focus: student performance, stakeholder engagement, highly qualified workforce and facilities, and support and instructional resources. Key measures in the area of student performance – which administrators emphasize is the most important focus area – are MAP test scores in elementary schools and ACT, EOC (End-of-Course), PLAN and EXPLORE scores in middle and high schools. The scorecard also measures the percent of students taking Advanced Placement (AP) tests, as well as graduation rates and the percent of Rockwood graduates who go on to attend a two- or four-year college.
Although the scorecard seems driven by test scores, Wipke said that measuring how Rockwood students perform on standardized tests has benefits beyond improving test scores. He talked about the doors that open in terms of college admission when students are successful on the ACT. He also pointed to the standardized Gates-MacGinitie Reading Test at elementary schools as an example of how testing can help educators gauge how well students are learning.
Wipke and Hargadine both agreed that one of the most beneficial uses of the vision scorecard is as a digital tool for sharing best practices across a district that encompasses 150-square miles, 29 schools and more than 22,000 students.
“So when you do have a school that’s rocking it in math, we want the other schools to learn from that and to be able to offer those same things to their students as well,” Hargadine said.
Hargadine described the district scorecard as a funnel that connects to each school’s vision scorecard. The individual schools use the data from their scorecards to help develop their school improvement plans, or SIPs, which are implemented at the grade level, in classrooms and in specific courses.
Finally, “it would funnel down into direct relationships with students and individual students’ grades and scores,” Hargadine said.
For now, only the district vision scorecard is available for parents to view online. Eventually, parents will be able to pull up each school’s vision scorecard online so they can see exactly how their child’s school is performing. Building principals and staff already have digital access to school vision scorecards and SIPs.
“I think all of our buildings have great strengths and that’s what makes Rockwood a wonderful school district,” said Hargadine. “But the ability now for each building to capitalize on each others’ strengths and to build even greater buildings is going to be one of the best things to move us to the very next level of learning for our students.”