Driven by Data

Best Practices for Sharing State Test Results

Building on our data experience with schools, we have compiled best practices for managing the communication and wider dissemination of state test results across critical internal stakeholders. 


  1. Have a clear plan for dissemination – Codifying an internal plan for distribution across stakeholders is one of the biggest steps schools can take prior to the release of test results. Consider developing templated or consistent reports to share annually with Board members and families. School leaders should know in advance with whom they will share results, when and how.  Reference the chart above as a starting place.
  2. Provide context to all groups – Viewing this year’s results on their own doesn’t provide a clear picture for determining progress. Therefore, consider including local and state comparative performance data for all reporting. Some schools also incorporate historical performance into reporting to monitor performance trends, typically across a 3-5 year period. 
  3. Connect to wider accountability measures – Consider plugging test results into your local or state accountability framework (when applicable) to estimate how this might impact your public accountability score. Schools can also compare annual performance to internal goals to assess how a school or network have faired on broader targets. State test performance is one slice in a larger pie that evaluates a school’s effectiveness. When possible, incorporate other accountability measures for a more complete picture of the most recent school year. 
  4. Use as a reflective process – There can be a tendency to view state testing performance from a binary lens – did we improve from last year or not? Most schools would benefit from breaking down the data and examining with further granularity (e.g., looking at teacher/homeroom performance, subgroup performance, and even question and standard performance if those results are available). Taking a deeper and critical examination of performance can help identify areas for improvements, interventions and the focus for the current school year. 
  5. Celebrate your successes – Due to the timing of results, many schools neglect the open celebration of results and growth. Consider holding an event amongst teachers, students and/or families that celebrates and recognizes improved performance and growth. From a strategic communication standpoint, post highlights within your family newsletter or on your school website to provide external stakeholders of your progress and improvement of student achievement.  



[This post contributed by John Roussel, National Data Director.]