“The information and ratings on the report card are intended to be a catalyst for conversation, not a defining characteristic,” according to an information sheet explaining how the ratings work. “Ultimately, a quality education is more than a score, and these ratings provide one perspective on how a school is performing.”

State officials are encouraging parents to contact their principal or district leader with questions about their school’s ratings. And bracing for a potential flood of calls, the department has provided district leaders with talking points.

The first message suggests: “Our students are seeing success — with graduation rates, ACT scores, and college-going rates on the rise — but there is still more work to do to ensure that every school serves every student well. Parents and community members need easy-to-understand information about their schools to support this progress.”