SCCOE State of Education Quarterly - Winter 2017, Vol. 1, No. 1
Welcome to the Santa Clara County State of Education Quarterly, a new publication prepared by the Santa Clara County Office of Education Office of the Superintendent. The State of Education Quarterly is published four times per year, and each edition provides in-depth coverage of topical issues pertinent to educational practice in Santa Clara County.
In this edition, we present information regarding the new accountability system being publicly released by the California Department of Education. Called the California School Dashboard, it represents an integrated local, state and federal accountability system that is grounded in the concept that local educational agencies (LEAs) and schools will make continuous progress on multiple measures that define a high quality public education.  

The California School Dashboard

The State of California has changed its accountability system for schools and school districts. 
The old system, the Academic Performance Index, or API, was suspended in the spring of 2014 while the new system was being developed. 
The outdated API was an annual measure of performance calculated solely on the results of statewide tests and produced a single number indicating how well, or not, students in a school or district performed on these tests. While some praised the clear simplicity of comparing numerical API rankings, others cautioned that the API did not take into account many other key and often complex factors that constitute a quality educational program. In the fall of 2016, the California State Board of Education marked a considerable shift in approach by unanimously adopting a multifaceted system for evaluating schools and districts using various measures of school conditions and student achievement. 
The California School Dashboard, as the new state accountability tool is called, will continue to include the results of state assessments as did the API. However, unlike the API, the Dashboard will also include indicators such as suspension and graduation rates, college and career readiness, progress of English learners in becoming proficient in English, and measures of school climate and parental involvement. 
The new measures will explicitly look at not only the current status of these indicators but at positive or negative change over time. The intent is to provide enough detail to easily determine how well student groups are doing and which activities and conditions at a school are effective and which need the most improvement.
State and local indicators

The California School Dashboard will initially include a set of state indicators for which there are reliable data available for districts and schools:

  • Chronic Absenteeism - defined as absent without a valid excuse for 10 percent or more of days within a school year (not available for this year).
  • Suspension Rate - suspension rates are calculated by tallying the number of students suspended divided by the cumulative enrollment in a school year.
  • English Learner Progress - measures the progress of students whose primary language is other than English toward becoming proficient in English.
  • Graduation Rate the most recent four-year cohort data are compared to a weighted average of the three prior years' data.
  • College and Career - combines grade 11 Smarter Balanced test scores and the percentages of high school graduates who have successfully completed a career technical education pathway or the high school courses, known as A-G, required for admission to the University of California and California State University, or who have successfully completed two semesters/three quarters of Dual Enrollment college-level work (not available for this year).
  • English Language Arts - measures how close average student scores on the grades 3 through 8 Smarter Balanced Test in English Language Arts are to Level 3 Met Standard, which demonstrates that students have the knowledge and skills associated with college readiness.
  • Mathematics - measures how close average student scores on the grades 3 through 8 Smarter Balanced Test in Mathematics are to Level 3 Met Standard, which demonstrates that students have the knowledge and skills associated with college readiness.

The Dashboard will also include a set of local indicators which will be self-reported by local educational agencies (LEAs)For this year, LEAs are required to report only if they collected and publicly reported performance data for each of the following indicators:

  • Basics - assignment of qualified teachers, distribution of standards-aligned textbooks and the operation of safe, clean and functional facilities.
  • Implementation of Academic Standards - a measure of the level of implementation of the California Standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics developed through self-assessment and the use of guidelines from the state.
  • Parent Engagement - a measure of the level of parental involvement with the educational system developed through self-assessment and the use of guidelines from the state.
  • Local Climate Survey - a measure of the learning environment developed through local surveys of parents, teachers, and students.
Status, change, and performance categories

The new California accountability model combines five status and five change levels; the model provides equal weight to both status and change.

Status is based on current year performance, and change is the difference between prior year performance and current year performance. 

The Graduation Rate Indicator is the one exception that uses a multi-year average rather than prior year data. 

In future years, as more historical data becomes available, other indicators will also use multi-year averages. The combination of status and change results in a performance category that is assigned a color as shown below.
The color Blue is the highest performance category and the color Red is the lowest. These categories and colors reflect information about both status and change for each indicator. The amount of fill in each category icon also signifies performance (i.e. Blue has five segments filled, and Red has one) and ensures accessibility when printed or copied in black and white.

 Since 1852, the Santa Clara County Office of Education has provided vital services and resources to the county's 31 K-12 public school districts and more than 270,000 students. The SCCOE strives to provide advocacy and leadership on education issues, student programs that are models of excellence, and indispensable services to schools and community partners. The SCCOE is committed to serving, inspiring, and promoting student and public school success.
Stay up to date with activities throughout the school year by  'liking' us on Facebook  and following us on  LinkedIn  or  Twitter  @SCCOE.