Accountability transitioning to a new system
California’s new accountability and continuous improvement system is grounded on the key principles of equity, transparency and continuous improvement, and is based on multiple measures to inform a more robust understanding on what constitutes a positive educational experience for students. A step in the right direction, the new system moves away from the decades-old single summative index as previously required by the Academic Performance Index, and instead considers local educational agencies and schools’ current performance and improvement over time (status and change) with the goal of providing support and resources to help schools improve student outcomes.
The current school year will serve as a transitional year to when the new accountability system is fully operational in 2017-18, while the new technical assistance, support, and interventions under the Local Control Funding Formula and the Every Student Succeeds Act will not be implemented until the 2018-19 school year.
At its September 2016 meeting, the State Board of Education adopted a new school accountability tool, known as the evaluation rubrics, as required by the LCFF to assist LEAs with identifying strengths, weaknesses, and areas in need of improvement across all eight LCFF priorities. In addition, the rubrics must also assist in identifying LEAs in need of additional assistance or intervention based on low performance across the LCFF priorities for one or more numerically significant student groups across a number of years.
The new evaluation rubrics include performance standards for all state indicators and local performance indicators, which apply at the LEA and school level, and will be made available to school communities through a web-based platform that will launch in early 2017. Using a methodology that combines current status and change over time, the rubrics will display five color-coded performance levels for each indicator. From highest to lowest, the five performance levels are: Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange and Red. Performance levels for LEAs, school and numerically significant student groups will be determined based on the most recent year of data available to determine “status” and the average of up to three years of prior years of data, if available, to determine “change.”
State indicators had to meet four criteria, including being evidenced and researched-based, and data had to be comparable statewide and be available for disaggregation to analyze at the LEA and school levels for all students and for numerically significant student groups.
- Academic Indicator: Based on scale scores for student assessments on English Language Arts and mathematics for grades 3-8, including a measure of individual student growth, when feasible, and assessment results for the Next Generation Science Standards, when available (LCFF Priority 4).
- Suspension Rates by grade span (LCFF Priority 6).
- English Learner Progress Indicator: Measures progress on English learners toward English language proficiency (CELDT scores) and incorporates data on reclassification rates (LCFF Priority 4).
- High School Graduation Rate: Based on a four-year cohort.
- College and Career Indicator: Combines grade 11 test scores on ELA and mathematics and other measures of college and career readiness (LCFF Priorities 4, 7 and 8).
Local performance indicators
For the remaining LCFF priorities that currently do not have data collected at the state level, LEAs will be required to measure and report their progress based on locally collected data. More specifically, LEAs will be required to report the results to the LEA’s local governing board at a regularly scheduled meeting and to stakeholders and the public through the web-based evaluation rubrics. LEAs will determine whether they have Met, Not Met, or Not Met for More than Two Years using self-reflection tools included in the evaluation rubrics.
- Appropriately Assigned Teachers, Access to Curriculum-Aligned Instructional Materials and Safe, Clean and Functional School Facilities (LCFF Priority 1)
- Implementation of State Academic Standards (LCFF Priority 2)
- Parent Engagement (LCFF Priority 3)
- School Climate (LCFF Priority 6)
- Coordination of Services for Expelled Students – County Offices of Education Only (LCFF Priority 9)
- Coordination of Services for Foster Youth – County Offices of Education Only (LCFF Priority 10)
It is important to note that the new system will evolve over time as additional information becomes available, and could be modified based on practitioner’s experience during the first few years of implementation. ACSA will continue to seek input from its members with the goal of informing state policy decisions and the support LEAs and schools receive.
In an effort to support the successful implementation of the new accountability and continuous improvement system, and to better inform the work of the State Board of Education based on practitioners’ experiences and perspectives, ACSA recently established a new Accountability and Continuous Improvement Task Force. The Task Force is comprised of school, district and county administrators with expertise in all aspects of the local, state and federal programs and the knowledge of each of the state performance indicators. The Task Force will be convened for meetings throughout 2017 and will present its recommendations to the SBE and staff on a number of important topics. The Task Force’s purpose will be the following:
- Provide input to the State Board of Education on the ESSA State Plan.
- Provide input and guidance on the mandatory technical assistance and support/assistance to non-identified LEAs, and helping to inform the role of the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence in supporting and promoting continuous improvement.
- Provide guidance on messaging new accountability system to the field and stakeholders.
- Make recommendations for refining the new accountability system, including modifications to the state and local performance indicators.
- Make recommendations for an alternative accountability system.
- Make recommendations to align reporting requirements for the LCAP and LEA Plan.
- Consider changes to LCFF statute and other accountability related sections of Education Code.
- Solicit questions and clarifications as representatives from the field.
In addition to informing the work of the SBE, ACSA’s various departments are collaborating to develop a toolkit for administrators’ use to facilitate communication with teachers, parents and the community on the components of the new accountability system. ACSA staff is exploring the development of various resources, including short illustrated videos, infographics, hand-outs and a training video for administrators. ACSA staff will also continue to solicit information from our members regarding promising practices that could be used as a resource by other LEAs and be considered for the CCEE LCFF Resource Library. This information and resources will be readily available on a new webpage at www.acsa.org/accountability, that we anticipate launching by mid-January 2017.
To provide feedback on the new system or examples of resources needed by administrators, or to seek clarifications, please contact Legislative Advocate Martha Alvarez at firstname.lastname@example.org.