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DC School Report Card Frequently Asked Questions for Educators

The DC School Report Card gives DC families a look into all public schools in the District. Built in partnership with parents and families, this tool is a step toward a more transparent, equitable educational system into the District of Columbia, helping us put students at the center of critical decision-making. The Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), DC’s state education agency, led the development of the DC School Report Card as part of federal requirements under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). You can find the DC School Report Card at

Developing the DC School Report Card

Why did OSSE develop the new DC School Report Card?
We frequently hear from families and community members that they are looking for accessible and transparent information about all public schools in the District of Columbia, both DC Public Schools and public charter schools. The DC School Report Card is the first and only source of all comparable school information in the District. DC, along with all other states, is required to create annual school report cards under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). OSSE worked with school leaders, families, advocates, content experts, and members of the community to design a DC School Report Card that meets the federal requirements and also provides families with transparent, accessible information they want to know about our public schools. We know that this information can be a powerful tool for advocating for your school and understanding more about how your school is doing.

How was the DC School Report Card developed?
OSSE makes updates to the DC School Report Card on an annual basis by working with the community to create a tool that allowed transparent access to data. Since development began in 2017, we have heard more than 4,000 responses from parents and families, school leaders, and community members to determine what data to include in the DC School Report Card, and how to make the report card as user-friendly as possible. We remain committed to serving the needs of students and families, to ultimately provide them with easy access to easy-to-understand data that both addresses their needs and also meets the federal requirements mandated by ESSA.

Accessing the DC School Report Card

How many people are using the DC School Report Card?
A lot! In the first year, 60,000 different people used the DC School Report Card. In DC, demand is high for comparable school information. We were excited to see that users generally spend more than three minutes accessing multiple pages, which means that users are digging into the data. We use our website analytics to make annual improvements.

What information will I find on the DC School Report Card?
Parents and families, along with the broader DC community, expressed a desire for both academic and non-academic information, which is why each school’s DC School Report Card includes over 150 data elements about the school such as information about parent and family engagement, extracurricular activities, teacher experience, attendance, safety and discipline, school program offerings, and more. In the chart below you can see which information is included in each section of the report card website.

Is the website available in languages other than English?
The DC School Report Card website is fully translated in Spanish.

Some families at my school don’t have regular access to a computer or internet. How else can they use the DC School Report Card?
The DC School Report Card website works on smartphones and includes all of the functional elements of the desktop site.

Using the DC School Report Card

Does the information on the DC School Report Card reflect the current school year, or the past school year?
The DC School Report Card is released annually based on what happened at schools in the prior school year. One important exception to this is the information included on the school profile, which reflects the current school year, including the address and website for the school, before and after care, parent organization information, principal name, and programs and extra-curricular activities at the school.

How is Median Growth Percentile different from Growth to Proficiency?
Median Growth Percentile is a relative measure that shows which schools in DC are doing a better job helping students to grow on state assessments, relative to others. Growth to Proficiency is an absolute growth measure, showing whether a school is helping students to reach proficiency on state assessments.

More specifically, Median Growth Percentile shows how much students in a particular school have grown relative to students who were academically similar to them in a prior year. If a school has helped a student grow more than students who scored similarly in the prior year, they will have a high Median Growth Percentile.

Growth to Proficiency, on the other hand, measures how much progress students are making towards meeting expectations on grade-level state standards for ELA and math (level 4 on statewide assessments). Strong performance on Growth to Proficiency means that students have made the progress they need to make in order to reach a level 4 or above within five years.

What is chronic absenteeism? How is related to daily attendance?
Research backs up what educators and families know to be common sense: students must be in school to learn. If students miss more than 10 percent of their instructional time, they are considered “chronically absent,” and are at a greater risk of not being well-prepared to advance to the next grade, and ultimately to continue to college and meaningful career pathways. The report card includes two measures that address chronic absenteeism: the percentage of students at the school who are not chronically absent (in other words, who attend at least 90 percent of the time), and the school’s growth in reducing chronic absenteeism.

Average daily attendance (sometimes called in-seat attendance) is not the same as chronic absenteeism. While chronic absenteeism looks at each student’s attendance, average daily attendance averages all of the students in the school over the entire school year. It is possible for a school to have high daily attendance, and still have an issue with chronic absenteeism or vice versa. Both types of attendance measures are important to consider.

Understanding Teacher, School Leader, and Health Staff Data

What does the teacher experience level included on the DC School Report Card mean? Why do you only show the percentage of teachers certified and in-field at certain schools?
OSSE reports the percentages of teachers at the school who have been teaching for 1 year or less, 2-5 years, 6-10 years, or more than 10 years. While this is not a measure of how long those teachers have been at that particular school (often called teacher retention), it does give families a look into the experience level and length of the professional career of the school’s teachers.

While research has shown that how many years a teacher has been in the classroom matters – especially for teachers at the beginning of their careers – families should always consider the interactions and experiences they have had with their child’s teacher.

In the District of Columbia, teachers at public charter schools are not required to be certified or in-field in order to teach per DC Code. The DC School Report Card therefore only provides this information for DC Public Schools.

Contact Us

How do I suggest additions to the DC School Report Card, or provide other feedback?
We would love to hear from you. If you have questions or suggestions, please email us at [email protected]. We want to continue to make the DC School Report Card better and more useful for families, educators, and the community, and will consider feedback for improvements in future years.

Where can I get more information?
To learn more about the DC School Report Card, visit:
Want to sign up for updates or still have questions? Email us at [email protected].