A new web-based tool that gives a snapshot of every Iowa public school’s performance on certain educational measures became available to the public, Wednesday, Dec. 16.

The Iowa School Report Card scores schools on up to eight educational measures that include student attendance and Iowa Assessment performance, and then assigns an overall rating to each school. The Iowa School Report Card website explains the measures, methodology and rankings in more detail.

While this information can add to conversations in the Ames community about how we’re preparing our students for success, these measures are based on limited data, Associate Superintendent Mandy Ross said.

“As we know from other accountability initiatives such as the federal No Child Left Behind Act, labels and ratings do not tell the whole story about our schools,” Ross said.

Each school in the District uses a variety of data to track how students are progressing and to adjust instruction and professional development for better results, Ross said.

“These data show our students consistently score above the local, state and national averages,” Ross said.

Compared to global peers, Ames students also score well, Ross said. Last year, randomly selected 15-year-old Ames High School students who took the OECD test—an international test of science, mathematics and reading skills—out-scored all the other high-performing Iowa high schools that participated, and scored toe-to-toe with global powerhouses like Singapore, Japan, Korea and Hong Kong. Among international peers, only Shanghai’s scores surpassed Ames’ scores.

Superintendent Tim Taylor said Ames students also benefit from the District’s “depth and diversity in all the areas that help students succeed.”

“We have the right balance of expertise, strategies and community support to provide individualized instructional strategies for our students, supported by an array of fine arts and extracurricular programming and athletic opportunities set in the rich culture of our community,” Taylor said.

Earlier this month, the national school ranking organization Niche selected Ames Community School District as the number one district in the state of Iowa for the second year in a row, based on student demographics, teacher/staff qualifications, and student test scores.

Ross said principals are sending messages to their families to tell more about success stories and school improvement efforts in their schools.

“We  invite you to ask questions about our improvement efforts, and find out what you can do to support our district, its teachers and its students,” she said.