L.A. Unified unveils revamped ‘report cards’ evaluating its schools

L.A. school officials unveiled a more user-friendly school “report card” Wednesday that is more focused on information than public relations. The new product updates an effort that began last year, when Supt. Ramon C. Cortines sought to make school performance more transparent, even when the data revealed disappointing results.

Last year’s report cards, however, were difficult to read and had not yet incorporated features such as an annual survey of parents, students and school staff. Officials acknowledged the ongoing need to improve response rates on these surveys at many schools.

The data for high schools include the percentage of ninth-graders who move to the 10th grade -- a key indicator of whether a school is reaching troubled students. That information could be more reliable, in fact, than dropout rates, which remain subject to manipulation. The revised report also includes student proficiency rates for special programs at a school, such as a magnet program. But still missing are proficiency rates for a school once students from higher-scoring special programs are removed from the calculation.

The report cards are going out to the families with students enrolled in nearly all schools managed by the Los Angeles Unified School District. Not included until next year are primary centers, special education centers and continuation schools.

The district fashioned the latest version of the report card after feedback from focus groups and with the support of the United Way of Greater Los Angeles and the California Community Foundation. Cards for individual schools can be found at or