New Alliance Report Makes Case for Data Dashboard Systems

A new report from the Alliance for Excellent Education highlights how going beyond a test score when assessing achievement in schools and districts provides better ways to track performance, monitor accountability, and ensure the most at-risk students are not lost in the numbers.

Data dashboards are based on the idea that numerous individual performance indicators, such as academic achievement and leadership, correct the shortcomings of accountability systems that rely on a single test score or combine indicators into a difficult-to-interpret index.

The U.S. Department of Education granted forty-three states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico flexibility from key provisions under NCLB (known as “ESEA waivers,”) and a number of states are heading in the right direction, according to the report. States such as Georgia and Kentucky are including more indicators of school performance within their accountability systems. Still, the report notes a majority of these states are using an index rather than a dashboard which may limit the effectiveness of their efforts.

The report also offers policy recommendations to help states and districts to develop data dashboards that provide the right indicators for their students and teachers and set realistic goals once indicators are in place.

Data Dashboards: Accounting for What Matters is available online at