The California Department of Education launched a new website designed to help communities across the state access important information about K–12 districts and schools.
The new “California School Dashboard” is several years in the making and replaces the Academic Performance Index (API) as the state’s accountability and improvement system. Unveiled to the public this week in the form of a field test, the Dashboard provides multiple measures of success that the state calls “Indicators”, including test scores, graduation rates, English learner progress and suspension rates.
“Educators are continuously assessing student performance and we use several measures to track our progress. Now we have a “report card“ that gives the public a more holistic view of what we are doing well and what areas need improvement,” said Superintendent Evans. “The Dashboard will become more useful over time and more meaningful for parents and our community as it evolves and as more recent data becomes available.
The Dashboard relies on five color-coded performance levels to demonstrate grades of success (from red to blue, see image). Each color grade is determined by two measures of performance — how student performance (status) compares to the standard for achievement and how much the district or school’s performance has improved or declined over time (change).
Data for four of the six state indicators are now included in the Dashboard, with plans to have all six operational by Fall 2017. The state indicators that currently appear in the Dashboard are:
- Academic: English Language Arts/Math
- Graduation Rates
- Suspension Rates
- English Learner Progress
The two additional state indicators still under development and not included in the current field test are:
- Chronic Absenteeism
- College Readiness
The “local indicators” that will be developed locally and will be specific to Berkeley Unified School District fall into these categories:
- Basic Conditions
- Implementation of Academic Standards
- Parent Engagement
- School Climate
The Dashboard provides several reporting formats, and includes at-a-glance “report cards” known as “Five-by-Five Charts” that represent a school’s performance status and progress on each one of the indicators of success.
Since a key focus of the new system is equity, the report cards include achievement of different student groups — including racial and ethnic groups as well as socioeconomically disadvantaged students and students with disabilities.
It will take some time for the website to be fully operational and for the Dashboard to offer the full holistic report it is designed to provide. It is important to note that several of the data points currently captured in the Dashboard are from a few years back and may not reflect current progress being made, or even the performance of students currently attending the school. For example, the most recent data in the Dashboard on English learner progress is three years old (from the 2014-15 school year), and since then, additional staffing has been provided to strengthen direct instruction to EL students along with other action steps in our Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP).
During this field testing phase, the California Department of Education is encouraging parents to share feedback on the user experience by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.