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    Categories: Schools

California School Dashboard launches with valuable information for school districts and a new system of support that turns data into action

SACRAMENTO—The California Department of Education (CDE) and the State Board of Education (SBE) announced today the launch of the fall 2017 California School Dashboard, a Web site that provides valuable information on multiple topics regarding school and student performance in an easy-to-understand report card format.

The information, which includes test scores, graduation rates, and college and career readiness, is aimed at helping all students succeed. The launch follows a pilot version released in March. 

The release of the Dashboard occurs at the same time California launches its new Statewide System of Support for Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) and schools, which provides assistance for all districts, but has special targeted support for districts that face significant challenges in lifting the performance of struggling student groups.

“This is a critical moment in our education reform efforts because we are now turning data into direct action by identifying districts that face challenges in certain areas and providing them with help rather than sanctions,” said State Superintendent Tom Torlakson. “The Dashboard helps all schools and districts improve by identifying strengths and weaknesses in many different areas, allowing parents, teachers, students, and communities to target their resources toward areas where improvement is needed. It also highlights the performance of student groups, making disparities or achievement gaps impossible to ignore.”

The California School Dashboard is a key component of the dramatic changes underway in California schools aimed at preparing our students for college and careers in a rapidly changing economy. These include higher academic standards, high quality tests, more local control over funding decisions and more resources for those with the greatest needs, including English learners, foster youth, and those from low-income families. The system has a special focus on equity. It is designed to shine a light on the students who need the most help.

The Dashboard, which will evolve over time as data is added and improvements are made, will be a key source of information for parents, teachers, administrators, and school communities as they develop their Local Control and Accountability Plans, which are required under the Local Control Funding Formula signed into law by Governor Brown in 2013.

The Dashboard replaces the state’s former accountability system—the Academic Performance Index (API), which relied exclusively on standardized tests and gave schools a single score. That system was suspended three years ago.

“With the Dashboard, California is shining a light on inequities by identifying the students that need the most help within a district and pinpointing their areas of challenge,” said State Board of Education President Michael W. Kirst. “These are students whose struggles would have been masked under a less comprehensive accountability system. And with the Statewide System of Support, we are providing districts with assistance from California’s deep pool of public school experts, educators who have experience in our classrooms and know best how to address tough issues.”

The California School Dashboard incorporates a total of six state performance indicators and four local indicators. The six state indicators are:

  • Academic, which includes results on standardized tests
  • Career/College Readiness
  • English Learner Progress
  • Graduation Rates
  • Suspension Rates
  • Chronic Absenteeism

Local educational agencies and schools receive one of five color-coded performance levels for each state indicator for all students and for each student group. The performance standards are based on status—how each school or district fared last year, and change—how much they have improved or declined over time. Schools are rated based on a combination of these measures and assigned one of five performance levels. From highest to lowest, the categories are: Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange, and Red. Because data on chronic absenteeism and career/college readiness will be displayed for the first time, schools and districts will not receive a color-coded evaluation on those indicators.

Using this system, the Dashboard identified 228 districts with at least one low-performing student group across two of the state priorities that have state indicators. Those priorities are student engagement, academic achievement, school climate, access to a broad course of study, and outcomes in a broad course of study. A spreadsheet showing the assistance status of all school districts, including general assistance, which is available to all districts, and differentiated assistance, based on the data mentioned above, will be available after the Dashboard’s launch. 

Local indicators are based on information collected by districts, county offices of education, and charter schools. The four local indicators are:

  • Basic Services and School Conditions
  • Implementation of State Academic Standards
  • Parent Engagement
  • School Climate

 “The California School Dashboard underscores the commitment to accountability and transparency by consolidating a comprehensive set of metrics on one site,” said Orange County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Al Mijares. “In addition to displaying critical academic performance data, the Dashboard spotlights other important contributors to educational achievement, including school climate and parent engagement, enabling stakeholders to fully evaluate how local schools are preparing students for college and careers.”

For more information, please visit the California Accountability Model & School Dashboard Web page.

Judy LaRussa :