School Accountability Report Cards
All public schools are required to issue an annual School Accountability Report Card (SARC). A SARC is also mandated for charter schools and non-public schools, although the requirements are less comprehensive. More information about SARC requirements is available at the CDE website. Local schools have several options for preparing SARCs, as described below.
Free Web-Based SARC
SCOE has partnered with SchoolCity to provide districts with access to the Single Plan & Accountability Report Card Suite (SPARCS), which was developed in collaboration with the Santa Clara County Office of Education. SPARCS offers free SARC preparation via a Web-based interface. The optional Single Plan for Student Achievement service may be purchased for $450 per school site.
Districts can use SPARCS to create free SARCs for all schools. The online template is pre-loaded with CDE-released data, then district personnel input narrative content online. A PDF report can be created for printing, emailing, and posting to the Internet. To revise the report at any time, the school/district may log back in, make corrections, and create a new PDF. A Spanish template also includes all the testing and demographic statistics; narrative sections must be translated and input by the school/district.
Note that individuals must register and create an account on the SPARCS website to access the free SARC service.
How-To Video Guides for SPARCS | Dec 2011
The following videos provide a brief overview of four key steps involved in completing the free School Accountability Report Card (SARC) on the SPARCS interface. A basic illustrated SPARCS guide (pdf) is also available.
Video: School Setup Data | The first step in creating a SARC is called School Setup. This is where you enter your district and school address, phone number, administrator names, etc.
Video: SARC Input | This video shows you how to navigate through the various sections of the SARC and track which sections have been completed.
Video: Printing a Report | When you’re ready to generate a report, this video shows you how. You can generate a new report as often as needed during the editing process.
SARC coordinators can access the state templates via the Ed-Data website. This free service replaces the SARC templates that were previously offered on the California Department of Education (CDE) website. To access the templates and get updates as data are released, SARC coordinators must first sign up for the Accountability Report Card Listserv at the CDE website.
- Access the Ed-Data SARC Template
- Sign up on the Accountability Report Card Listserv
- See this Quick Guide (pdf) for downloading the template
There are several commercial vendors that prepare SARCs. When using an outside vendor, please make sure that the product meets both state and federal requirements and includes a full SARC, not just the executive summary. Prices vary significantly from vendor to vendor. Selected vendors include:
- Axiom SARCBuilder
- Document Tracking Services (DTS): Includes SARC, SPSA & Other Reports
- School Innovations and Advocacy (SI&A)
- Schoolwise Press
February 1 is the deadline for completing SARCs for the previous school year.
Translation into home languages
SARCs must be translated into students’ home language if 15% or more of the school’s students speak a single primary language other than English.
Posting SARCs online
Schools are required to post their SARC on the Internet so that it is easily accessible to parents. As a public service, SCOE also compiles links to all SARCs for Sonoma County schools (see this listing). To fulfill the SARC posting requirement:
- Post your SARC on your school/district website, then email email@example.com with the link.
- Email your SARC (in PDF format) to firstname.lastname@example.org if your district does not have a website.
- Provide CDE with your SARC link via the Update Your SARC Link page. The easiest way to do this is to navigate to your SARC on your school/district website, then copy the address from the browser bar and paste it in the appropriate space on CDE’s Update Your SARC Link page.
- If you need assistance with these posting requirements, please see this guide for Posting Your SARC Online (pdf).
Why do some tables show different years?
The years covered on SARC tables are based on the availability of data and state law. Although the SARC is for the previous school year, three tables provide information on the current year, while the financial tables use data from two years ago. This is not an error!
How accurate is the data?
The SARC data comes from CDE and is based on information submitted by schools/districts. For information about what the data includes, see CDE’s Data Element Definitions.
What is included in the CAHSEE data?
CAHSEE calculations include grade ten students only. Grade 11-12 students are not counted.
Why are some test scores missing?
Scores are not shown when the number of students tested is ten or less. These scores are deleted to protect student privacy and because they are too small for statistical accuracy.
How is the CST data calculated?
CDE uses an algorithm of combined scores for CST data and other test scores.
- Anne Dewey, Information Specialist