We haven’t made a habit of posting press releases, choosing instead to focus our attention on the work. But in this case we’ve chosen to make an exception.
We’ve been privileged to play a key role in a visionary project led by the New Mexico Department of Education. This project has the potential to transform how states utilize their data to empower students and parents and we’re proud to play a part.
And thus we’ve decided to open this one up to the public.
Illuminating Educational Data
New Mexico Public Education Department Releases First-Ever School Grades Videos
Animated videos use Spotlight’s “data animation” technology to deliver home language-based messages to New Mexico parents and community members.
Santa Fe– October 31, 2018 – The New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED) has partnered with education technology company Spotlight to develop first-of-their kind school accountability videos. Over 850 of these videos – one for each public school in the state – explain every school’s “grade,” or performance, in either English or Spanish. The videos can be found at New Mexico’s school grades website, https://nmschoolgrades.com.
NMPED has remained committed to an A-F grade-based evaluation model. Every New Mexico public school earns a grade based on a range of weighted criteria. In response to concern that school grade determinations seem complicated, particularly among parents from a diverse range of backgrounds, the Department employed Spotlight to develop the plain-speaking videos.
Federal law requires that every state department of education make school performance information available to the public. Most states publish “dashboards,” typically with charts and graphs depicting a school’s performance. New Mexico, however, uses the videos to speak directly to viewers
“Eighty percent of [New Mexico] parents and families want meaningful school accountability information,” said New Mexico’s Secretary of Education Christopher Ruszkowski, speaking to local reporters. “School grades have always been available, but it’s been PDFs, it’s been clunky.”
“Our parents and families deserve to know where our schools are doing well…and where they’re not doing so well.”
Spotlight’s Co-Founder Mike Fee explained how the videos support the state’s commitment to transparency: “It’s one thing to make school data available. It’s something entirely different to make it understandable, even actionable.
“These videos allow the Department literally to speak to every parent and community member in the state, in English or Spanish, so that they can make informed educational decisions.”
Parents and other users can find the videos by searching for schools at nmschoolgrades.com. The videos explain a school’s grade and how it is determined, and compares that grade to those of nearby schools. In the coming months, the NMPED will add Navajo versions of the videos.