How do you grade California? Announcing the California Report Card project

Californians can now use smartphones to grade their state on timely issues through the California Report Card.

Developed by the office of Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom with the CITRIS Data and Democracy Initiative at UC Berkeley, the “California Report Card” (CRC) is a pilot project that aims to increase public engagement with political issues and to help leaders at all levels stay informed about the changing opinions and priorities of their constituents.

Anyone can participate by taking a few minutes to assign grades to the state of California on timely issues including healthcare, education, and immigrant rights.  Participants are then invited to enter an online “Cafe” to propose issues for future versions of the platform.

The California Report Card works on all screens (best on mobile phones held vertically). To participate, visit:

 “Technology is our present and future. The California Report Card explores how technology can enhance communication between the public and government leaders. I’m looking forward to reviewing the project and  data with Prof. Goldberg and his team at our public panel discussion at Cal on March 20.” – Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom

In the spirit of Citizenville, Newsom’s 2013 book on the potential of technology to enhance government, the California Report Card builds on emerging technology to enhance public engagement with government.  The CRC platform incorporates methodology developed by the World Bank with statistical models developed by the UC Berkeley team with the U.S. Department of State.

“Report cards can motivate learning. We hope this project will motivate Californians to share their opinions and to learn about timely issues. ¬†As researchers, the patterns of participation and how they vary over time and across geography will guide the design of future platforms,” says Prof. Ken Goldberg.

Newsom and Goldberg will meet with participants who suggest the most important issues for the next report card (as determined by other participants) and review the data and lessons in a public forum at UC Berkeley on March 20, 2014, from 2-5 pm called “California Report Card: Learning From a New Platform for Civic Engagement” and is open for registration.

The CITRIS Data and Democracy Initiative (DDI) develops tools to support the evolving, dynamic relationships between digital media and democratic practices, including novel mobile, Internet, and social media applications to enhance online deliberation, participatory decision-making, and rapid mobilization. DDI seeks to enhance individual and collective awareness, understanding, and engagement for people of diverse backgrounds on critical social, political, and economic issues.

For details on the issues being graded, statistical significance, related projects, FAQ, contact info, etc, please visit the project website:

This work was supported by the Blum Center for Developing Economies and the Development Impact Lab (USAID Cooperative Agreement AID-OAA-A-12-00011), part of the USAID Higher Education Solutions Network; UC Berkeley’s Algorithms, Machines, and People Lab; and the UC CITRIS Data and Democracy Initiative.