A School’s Digital Report Card

Take a look at Microsoft’s vision of the future:

That is a digital future, and it looks incredible! But are we preparing our students for that future?
The success for digital learning is often determined at the state or district level, but school leaders can actually have the greatest impact on the outcomes, both good or bad. A school board may have given digital learning a green light in its district, but often student access to quality digital learning in a district comes down to the zip code in which a student lives.
It can certainly be frustrating to a parent whose child does not have access to digital learning, but kids across the street (in a different school district) do. The difference? The principal.
Let’s take a look at a school-level digital report card. Certainly with state and district support, schools can find digital learning success. Even without state or local funding or emphasis or priority, a number of schools have found a way to be digitally successful. Much of that success deals with the atmosphere created by the school leadership. Conversely, barriers can block success at virtually every step. Funding should certainly be addressed at every level. All is for naught without proper professional development. A computer can be turned into an expensive $2,000 pencil or Solitaire gaming device without proper teacher training.
This Digital Report Card is a good indicator on your readiness to meet the “10 Elements of High Quality Digital Learning” in the Digital Learning Now report. Keep in mind that there would be a different report card for district and state leadership. And I realize that many things at the school level are determined by what’s going on at the district and state level, but that’s the nature of a school report card. You’ll know where to apply the pressure and what gaps that need to be filled, though, at the end of the report card.
Scoring is based on a 0 to 5 scale.  I’ve given thresholds for the 0, 3, and 5 scores, but score your school anywhere from 0 to 5 on each question. Tally your scores next to the question number as you go.  Determine your school’s rank at the end of the survey.
______1. Do all of your students have access to high quality online providers?
0 = No access
3 = Only “qualified” students are allowed to take online classes
5 = All students have access
___/_______2. Do students can access your school’s digital content from home?
0 = No access to any digital content from home.
3= Some classes have digital content online.
5 = All classes have content that can be accessed online from home.
___/______3. Do parents have access to content and student grades from home?
0 = no access
3 = limited access
5 = great access.
___/______4. Is student learning measured with digital products tools? (This drives data collection and quick results for students.)
0 = no digital assessment
3 = some classes have digital assessment
5 = all classes have digital assessment
___/______5. How many advanced digital courses do your students have access to?
0 = no advanced digital courses
3 = 5 advanced digital courses
5 = 10 or more advanced digital courses.
___/______6. Is the digital content your students have access to of high quality?  (aligned to state standards/common core/differentiated/appropriate rigor)
0 = no high quality digital courses (this would include vendor products that are not aligned with any standards and have no rigor)
3 = digital courses either aligned to state standards or have good rigor.
5 = digital courses both aligned to state standards have appropriate rigor.
___/______7. What percentage of teachers require students to use digital tools and resources?
0 = 10% or less of teachers
3 = 60-70% of teachers
5 = 90% or more of teachers
___/______8. What percentage of teachers are creating digital materials? (This can include Powerpoints, Word docs, Youtube-type videos that can be accessed online.)
0 = 10% or less of teachers
3 = 60-70% of teachers
5 = 90% or more of teachers
___/______9. Does your school address digital literacy or digital citizenship?
0 = no
3 =  we have a course or unit developed, but students are not required to take it.
5 = yes, and students are required to take it.
___/______10. Is the use of inexpensive or free digital tools being explored to offset the school costs?  (Such as freemium plans, school discounts, digital budget supervisor)
0 = no
3 =  yes, but not in a systematic way.
5 = yes, we have a team and or director who searches for such cost savings.
___/______11. Do you have a funding plan for digital costs that will allow for programs to continue for at least three years?
0 =  no
3 = yes, but team does not yet have a plan
5 = yes
___/______12. What access to your students have to computers or tablets?
0 = Single computer in each classroom.
1 =  1 computer lab
3 = multiple computer labs, plus mobile carts
5 = 1:1 access
___/______13. How would you rate the bandwidth at your school?
0 = Low bandwidth, goes offline routinely
3 = average bandwidth, occasionally goes offline
5 = excellent bandwidth, can handle 1:1 computing
___/______14. How would you rate the wifi at your school?
0 =  no wifi access
3 = good wifi, but only to school computers
5 = excellent wifi, guests are able to access
___/______15. How many digital devices to your students have access to? (cameras, smartboards, tablets, projectors, software)
0 = very limited access, seldom used
3 = good access, but not in all classes
5 = well integrated throughout the learning day
___/______16. Do you have a digital learning mission statement along with goal and objectives that has been shared with the school?
0 = no plan yet
3 = we have a plan, but it’s not been widely shared
5 = we have a plan that’s been shared with the school and is a regular part of the learning environment.
___/______17. Do teachers have an expectation to use digital tools in the classroom?
0 = no expectation
3 = the expectation is there, but it’s not measure and teachers are not evaluated on it
5 = the expectation is clear and teachers are measured on their usage
___/______18. Does your school have a policy that encourages or requires students to take an online/blended/digital class?
0 = no
3 = recommended
5 = required
___/______19. Does your school have someone who is identified at the digital learning administrator? This person helps oversee the schools digital learning program, from classes to budget to assessment.
0 = no one has been identified
3 = we have an identified person, but complete job requirements have not been identified
5 =  yes
___/______20. Does digital learning have a recurring spot on your school improvement team’s agenda?
0 = no we do not
3 = it’s routinely mentioned, but does not have a recurring spot on the agenda
5  = yes we do
___/______21. Does your school have a “Bring Your Own Device” policy?
0 = we have a policy against bringing devices to school
3 =  we don’t have a policy, but we let students bring their device
5 = we have a policy and encourage teachers to use smart devices in the classrooms
___/______22. Do you have a regular internal and external review of your digital learning program?
0 = no
3 = we have the plan, but have not implemented
5 = yes
___/______23. Have you allowed students to flex their schedules because of online/blended/digital courses?
0 = no
3 = limited
5 = yes
___/______24. Have you allowed teachers to flex their schedules because of online/blended/digital courses?
0 = no
3 = limited
5 = yes
____/_____25. Do you have professional development for teachers or certification programs to ensure they are properly using and creating digital content and teaching with high standards online?
0 = no
3 = it’s offered, but it’s not required for teachers to take
5 = yes
___/______26. In addition to a digital administrator, do you have a dedicated digital support staff for students and teacher?
0 = no
3 = yes, but duties have not been clarified
5 = yes
___/______27. How would your rate your tech support to include response time?
0 = not good
3 = average
5 = excellent
___/______28. Do your teachers have a way to share digital content and assessments that they create with other teachers? This would include an online repository that allows for all teachers (and students) to have access to the best content.
0 = no
3 = yes, but it’s not widely used.
5 = yes
__________ Your Total Score
Total Possible: 140 Points
Your School Ranking:
Advanced Digital School = 119 – 140
Emerging Digital School = 98 – 118
Developing Digital School = 57 – 97
Early Digital School = 0 – 39
Post your score and let us know what we need to adjust on the report card!

Adam Renfro

Adam was a classroom English teacher for ten years and began teaching online in 1998. He now works for the North Carolina Virtual Public School, the 2nd largest virtual school in the nation. Adam has blogged for Getting Smart since September of 2011.

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Mary Wilson

Super Cool! but somewhat intimidating.


It's a very good system but for advanced schools not local i think.

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