||This is a qualitative study regarding a rural fringe school district in North Carolina.
interest for this study involved analyzing the State School Report Card ratings and
the impact of
these ratings on parental perceptions and school choice. For the purpose of this study,
were conducted with parents, principals, and teachers from elementary and middle schools.
North Carolina, each school’s grade is calculated using student proficiency and growth
80% of the school grade based on student achievement and 20% on school growth as measured
by the Education Value-Added Assessment System used by the state. This school grading
has become controversial among education advocates across the state, especially as
revealed that school grades are highly correlated to family income, with schools with
poverty scoring more Cs, Ds, and Fs than schools with less poverty. This current study
to what extent parents use school report cards when making school choice decisions.
reveal that parents held very little consideration for school report cards when considering
choice decisions. The results overall showed factors such as: (a) teacher satisfaction,
location, (c) school focus and philosophy, (d) availability of services, and (e) the
climate were most influential in decisions around school choice. Parents felt these
better indicators of the climate within a school, and thus were the drivers of parents’
choice decisions because of how these factors may affect their child’s education.