ExcelinEd Launches Design Prize to Improve Transparency in School Performance Data

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Report card competition seeks to empower parents, educators and policymakers with user-friendly school performance information

School Info Paper Cover

School Info Paper Cover

“Transparent and accessible information about the performance of our schools is critical if we want to improve the academic outcomes of all students," said Governor Bush.

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) announced the My School Information Design Challenge(#schoolinfo), a national competition to rethink and redesign school report cards. Incorporating 21st-century technology, the challenge seeks to reimagine school report cards – a required and critical tool for communicating school performance – into a clear and accessible, easy-to-understand format to best convey information to parents, policymakers and the public. The competition offers prizes totaling up to $35,000 for designers who employ the latest advancements in data visualization to effectively reimagine the transparency, presentation and usability of school information.

“Transparent and accessible information about the performance of our schools is critical if we want to improve the academic outcomes of all students. Ensuring parents and the public understand the quality of their local schools is the foundation of a strong accountability system,” said Governor Bush. “Through this competition, we’re inviting designers and innovators from around the nation to help transform the way information is communicated about our schools, fostering a culture that is more engaged, knowledgeable and committed to improving education for all students.”

The federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) requires that all 50 states publish an annual report card for every public school in the state. Recent research from the Education Commission of the States (ECS), together with supporting information from ExcelinEd, reveal that parents, policy makers, administrators and schools would benefit from enhancements to the usability and accessibility of today’s school report cards, which can often be difficult to find and interpret.

“State departments of education across the country have been grappling with how to present complex student and school performance data in a user-friendly format that is accessible across multiple platforms, while meeting federal and state requirements. The My School Information Design Challenge is intended to offer state education departments help in presenting this important information by inspiring a new generation of school report cards that inform parents, engage communities and strengthen accountability,” said Patricia Levesque, CEO of ExcelinEd.

ExcelinEd’s My School Design Challenge is a partnership with Getting Smart and Tom Vander Ark, CEO of Getting Smart and past president of the X PRIZE Foundation.

Prizes have a record of spurring innovation and attracting creative solutions to pressing challenges. Submissions in the My School Information Design Challenge will be judged by a diverse panel of experts representing parents, educators and the design community. The winning K-12 report card design will be awarded a $15,000 grand prize. A second place winner will be awarded $10,000, and additional prizes totaling up to $10,000 will be awarded during a public voting period for favorite design components. Eligible report card design entries must:

  •     Give parents intuitive, easy-to-understand and actionable school performance information;
  •     Increase the use and accessibility of school report cards by leveraging Web and mobile applications;
  •     Improve the visualization of the information in a school report card;

Key dates related to the My School Information Design Challenge include:

  •     September 18: Submission window opens
  •     October 17: All submissions must be submitted by midnight ET
  •     November 3-12: Panel of judges selects finalists
  •     November 17-30: Public voting window for favorite design components
  •     Early December: Announcement of winners

For more information about the competition and to read the My School Information Design Challenge brief, which provides more details about the competition and an overview of the latest research, visit MySchoolInfoDesignChallenge.com.

ExcelinEd is active on Facebook at Facebook.com/ExcelinEd and Twitter at @ExcelinEd. Using the hashtag #schoolinfo, parents, designers and readers can join the discussion on Twitter and Facebook.

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Jackie Barreiros