FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Issued By: Superintendent Sean McPhetridge (510) 337-7060 and
Board President Gary Lym (510) 337-7187
State Releases New Accountability “Dashboard”
for Districts and Schools
Alameda, Calif. — March 17, 2017 — The State Board of Education (SBE) and the California Department of Education (CDE) have released the “California School Dashboard,” a website that communicates information about public schools and school districts with easy-t0-use indicators and graphics.
The dashboard, a key piece in California’s new school accountability system, replaces the Academic Performance Index (API). That system, which relied exclusively on standardized tests and gave each school just one numerical score, was suspended three years ago. The new system provides 10 different measures (six state and four local) of a school’s “performance,” which is a combination of its current status and its growth over time.
“A Multi-Dimensional View”
The six state measures are: Academic Achievement; Career/College Readiness; Graduation Rate; Suspension Rate; English Learner Progress; and Chronic Absenteeism.
The four local measures are Basic Services and School Conditions; Parent Engagement; School Climate; and Implementation of Academic Standards.
Indicators are given both for the district and school as a whole and for various demographic subgroups. One important note: On this year’s dashboards the Academic Achievement measures are from last year (2015-16) as compared to 2014-15. Graduation, Suspension, and English Language Learner data are from 2014-15 (as compared to previous years). This year’s dashboard also includes neither College/Career Readiness data nor Chronic Absenteeism data; the CDE anticipates adding those in subsequent years.
“Eventually, having ten up-to-date measures will give us a more multi-dimensional view of how our students, school sites, and district as a whole are doing,” says Chief Academic Officer Steven Fong. “Even without all the data, it is clear to us that the new dashboard will be a vital tool for identifying students who need more resources and support.” This is in part due to the fact, Fong said, that the new system tracks smaller groups of students. For a subgroup’s score to be listed on the API, there had to be at least 50 or 100 students (depending on the school size). The new dashboard displays results for subgroups of at least 30 students. “The dashboard provides us with a clear call to action,” Fong says, “because it allows us to more holistically identify more needs of more students.”
Visual Displays of Achievement and Growth
On the dashboard, a school’s or district’s performance on each measure is displayed as a pie chart indicator (as on a car’s dashboard) with a full blue pie illustrating “very high” performance and a red pie with just one slice illustrating “very low” performance. Green, yellow, and orange signify varying intermediate levels. Clicking on the indicators brings up more detailed information on the group’s most recent “status” on the measure and change over time.
To display a school’s or district’s performance (which, again, is a combination of status and change over time), the state also provides colored “Five by Five Placement Reports” for the state indicators. On these charts, the different colors can signify very different types of performance. For instance, a school that had very low achievement on one measure but increased significantly is ranked “yellow.” So, too, is a school that has very high achievement but declined significantly, as evident in the chart below. Similarly, a school that had medium status but increased is “green,” as is a school that maintained a high status.
This year’s dashboard shows that AUSD as a whole continues to be a high-performing district, especially for its academic scores and suspension and graduation rates (all of which received green indicators). Within that general data, certain schools and subgroups of students also received blue indicators on various measures. For instance:
- White, Asian, and students of two races received blue indicators for suspensions and English Language Arts
- Asian students received blue for Mathematics
- Filipino, Hispanic, and students of two or more races were marked blue for graduation rates
AUSD schools and subpopulations also received mid-range green, yellow, and orange indicators, which reveals the complexity of the new system. For instance, English Learners received a “yellow” on the ELA assessment, because they maintained a “medium” performance. Yet the indicator for Filipino students on the same measure is also yellow, because they achieved at a “high” level, but had declined from the prior year. “It’s important to drill down to the data and see what happened in each instance,” Fong says. “The colors just tell us how a school or subpopulation did most recently and what the movement has been since prior years.”
Some school sites and subgroups continue to need more targeted attention. Pacific Islander students, for instance, received red on the Mathematics achievement measure. The suspension rates for African-American students and students with disabilities also received a red indicator.
“This is both a wake-up call and a confirmation that we are on the right track,” McPhetridge said. “For instance, since 2015, we have implemented programs that specifically address our higher rates of suspension for some groups of students. This is a reminder that we did this for a reason, and it reminds us that we must continue to be vigilant in our efforts to make sure that all students have the opportunities and support they need to succeed. While we continue to do well overall, we cannot rest on our laurels for our areas of high performance.”
Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) serves more than 9600 students in Alameda, California, an island community in the San Francisco Bay Area. For more information, please visit the AUSD website, follow @AUSDNews on Twitter, or subscribe to our email communications. Questions? Contact Susan Davis, Senior Manager, Community Affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.