According to an Oakland Press’ editorial in the November 10, 2013 Open Forum, Michigan Republican state Rep, Lisa Posthumus Lyons is proposing legislature that would change the color-coded method Michigan currently uses to rate local schools to a single letter grade matching the report card formats used on K-12 education.
In today’s world of tablets and technology, visualization is an effective way to communicate performance management. Michigan’s Governor Snyder has instituted visual dashboard metrics into virtually every department within the state, municipalities and schools notwithstanding. People understand red = bad and green = good, and gradients in between are somewhere between good and bad, so long as the scale is shown in context to the scoring system.
Munetrix, a fiscal measurement and grading transparency website for local governments and schools, uses this methodology quite effectively. From a fiscal stability standpoint, the Munetrix scoring methodology translates complicated financial data into a simple, visual snapshot that anybody can understand – even using the “lime green” that Ms. Posthumus Lyons believes will confuse parents.
We use this method because people easily understand simple color-based data representations and we would suggest, rather than throwing the baby out with the bathwater, the Michigan Legislature look at successful implementations of standardized metrics and work with data in the way people digest information today: with their eyes.
Besides, when kids go beyond the K-12 education system, letter grades go out the window and are replaced with a 4.0 scale.
Bob Kittle, President & CEO Munetrix