Are school report cards effective?
Education decentralization requires that substantial information be available to local and regional stakeholders. Increasing transparency, establishing a basis for accountability, and providing tools for effective management at the local level help parents, teachers, and school officials assess school performance and status. Several countries have successfully piloted school-level information systems known as ‘school report cards’ to promote best practices and involve community members in the reform process. Despite considerable discussion around the idea of school report cards, there are relatively few examples of such methods in practice to disseminate information. The exceptions include the school report card required under the No Child Left Behind Act in the United States, often considered the gold standard of report cards, and report cards from a very small eight-school, three-country field test sponsored by the Civic Engagement for Education Reform in Central America (CERCA) Project. Methodologies range from inexpensive low-resource formats like the one previously used in Paraná State, Brazil, where an Education Management Information System (EMIS) already existed, to school self-assessments in Namibia, where community members evaluate their own schools for a managment committee of parents, teachers, and administrators. Other examples include Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana, India, and Guinea.