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Indiana Seeks Input On Student Traits To Track As Part Of New School Performance Dashboard

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Education officials say they want the new school performance dashboard to include data focused on what traits Hoosier graduates need to be successful after high school, in addition to academic and career-related progress. (Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

Indiana is seeking input on a new tool to better show how schools prepare students for life after high school. 

The Indiana State Board of Education is in the process of developing a new school performance data dashboard, after lawmakers approved legislation to create it earlier this year.

The new school performance dashboard has to include some traditional data points, like test scores and graduation rates, but will also focus on students' progress as they develop other skills in K-12 schools.

Bluffton High School Principal Steve Baker has been involved in meetings with the state to figure out how to integrate different student skills with school performance data. He said it will be a challenge figuring out how to measure some of those, but a worthwhile one. 

"Those are things that I think are just at this point more important than a test score," he said. 

Per a draft proposal shared at this month's board meeting, the state is considering how to track and monitor things like a student's grit and resilience; communication and collaboration skills; as well as civic, financial, and digital literacy. The student skills officials decide to focus on will ultimately help determine what data goes into the state dashboard. 

The new law also requires that schools publish a local version of the state's dashboard, and allows school leaders to customize what data to include.

Baker said the state and school dashboards will provide a more thorough look at how schools prepare and educate students, compared to the state's school letter grade system.

"I would describe the dashboard as more of a comprehensive, transparent method of getting a better picture and a more accurate picture of what a school is all about," Baker said. 

The board is currently seeking public input on the proposed draft (para español haga clic aquí), and will discuss next steps at its October meeting.

Contact reporter Jeanie at jlindsa@iu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @jeanjeanielindz.

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