How the Illinois School Report Card Makes School Comparisons Easy

Online tools that enable user comparison of education data are powerful. They can be used to help parents make decisions about their children’s education, to aid schools and districts in identifying opportunities for growth, and to direct lawmakers towards initiating policies that that lead to meaningful improvement for students.

Since 2014, we have worked with Northern Illinois University to enhance the user experience and design of the Illinois State Board’s Illinois School Report Cards. These report cards go beyond test scores to present a complete view of Illinois’ schools and are well-regarded for the depth of data presented.

We’re excited to spotlight the tool’s new dynamic search, sort, filter, and compare features, which enable thoughtful and in-depth comparisons across schools and districts. Visit the site and follow the user path below to learn more.

Select Schools to Compare

Select your first school to compare by typing the school name into the search bar on the home page. This will take you to a school snapshot page that provides key information about the school’s location and includes a menu of the available data indicators within the tool.

Click on the Compare Schools button at the top of the page, directly above the map. You’ll have several options for selecting additional schools to compare to your main school:

1) Search by name. If you know the name of the school you want to add to the list for comparison, simply type the name into the first search bar, select “See Search Results in List Below” and check the box to the left of the school name you wish to compare. This action will add the chosen school to the “shopping cart” on the right.

2) Search by address. If you want to search for schools within a certain region, you can pull up those schools based on the address or zip code you entered into the second section of search criteria. For example, if a parent is searching for schools in their new neighborhood.

3) Filter by school type. This feature separates out the schools into three categories, elementary, middle, or high school. Select which corresponding button you are interested in comparing, and the system will filter the schools by type.

4) Scroll through the school list. And finally, the user can scroll through the list of schools at the bottom, making their selection one school at a time.

Each school you select will be added to your “shopping cart” on the top right side of the page. When you’re ready to proceed, click the green Compare button.

Compare Schools

The school comparison feature shows a “baseball card” for each of the selected schools, allowing you to compare them side by side. The main school you selected appears on the left side with a thick yellow border. Drag and drop the school names at the top of the page to arrange the cards in your desired order, or click on the gray arrows to scroll through the other schools.

Select which indicators appear by clicking into the main school’s card. The information automatically changes on all subsequent cards to reflect the view of the main card. Drill down farther into a school card by clicking directly into the features on that card.

View the Progress and Environment tabs to see data exhibits related to college and career readiness, as well as student characteristics and student demographics. You can also click on each school’s name to explore data in more detail.

Interested in learning more? Collaborative Communications is nationally recognized for our knowledge in translating complex education data for wide audiences. Contact Katherine Hunt at hunt@collaborativecommunications.com.