• Five things to know about the California Dashboard


    State education officials are getting ready to unveil a brand new accountability and improvement system called the California School Dashboard this month to show how California’s public schools are performing — and to track their progress over time. Here are five things you need to know about the system:

    1. The new dashboard is aligned with California’s academic standards, but it goes beyond test scores.

    Published online, the California School Dashboard will feature an array of data to help parents, educators and the public evaluate the strengths and challenges of their schools and districts. The dashboard will also help determine which schools and districts require special assistance.

    Previously, the annual Academic Performance Index assigned each school a triple-digit score based largely on its standardized test scores. The California School Dashboard uses color-coded pie pieces and other gauges to present a more comprehensive set of metrics. While it may take a little more time to grasp, it’s expected to be more useful than the API to parents, educators and the public.

    2. The dashboard is based on state and local performance indicators in the LCAP.

    Each year, the California School Dashboard will display scores based on about a dozen state and local indicators. These indicators are specifically aligned with 10 priority areas in the state’s funding formula. These priority areas are also embedded in our Local Control Accountability Plan, or LCAP.

    State indicator results will be based on how schools or subgroups performed overall (known as their “status”), as well as how much they improved or declined over a three-year period (referred to as “change”). The state indicators are:

    • Chronic absenteeism
    • Suspension rate
    • English learner progress
    • Graduation rate
    • College and career
    • Academic (English language arts and math)

    Schools, districts and county offices will self-report their local indicators based on locally available data. The local indicators are:

    • Appropriately assigned teachers, access to curriculum-aligned instructional materials and safe, clean and functional school facilities
    • Implementation of academic standards
    • Parent engagement
    • School climate

    3. The California School Dashboard uses visual graphics to show performance and growth.

    For the state indicators, color-coded pie pieces will represent school and subgroup performance levels. Ranked from least favorable to most favorable, the performance levels are red (one slice), orange (two slices), yellow (three slices), green (four slices) and blue (a full pie).

    You can learn more about how each color is assigned by visiting the California Accountability Model & School Dashboard web page, but generally, the colors are gauges of how well the school or subgroup performed overall (status) and how much it improved or worsened over a three-year period (change).

    Here’s an example:

    In the example above, the school shows favorable suspension and graduation rates but low English scores and very low math scores.

    Again, those scores above refer to the state indicators. The local indicators will be represented differently. Rather than using color-coded pie pieces, the dashboard will note whether each local goal has been “met,” “not met” or “not met for more than two years.”

    4. The California School Dashboard will serve as the basis for technical assistance, not just as a tool for parents and the public.

    Under the provisions of the Local Control Funding Formula, state’s K-12 funding mechanism, schools, and districts will be eligible for technical assistance from their county office of education if certain performance benchmarks are not met over time. To learn more, refer to page 56 of the CDE’s Technical Guide for New Accountability System (PDF).

    5. The state has published guides and other resources, with more on the way.

    The California Department of Education has compiled the following resources for those seeking more information:

    Adapted from the Orange County Department of Education.