The California Department of Education (CDE) released today an updated version of the California School Dashboard, which displays the performance of schools, districts, and student groups on a set of state and local measures. Along with the updated Dashboard, CDE has added new indicators and identified school districts to receive differentiated assistance.
The new Dashboard uses gauges to provide graphic snapshots of school and district performance, offers quick comparisons to State results, and aims to include complete and more accurate translations into Spanish. A summary of the new changes can be found here. The updated Dashboard also includes new indicators, including:
- a chronic absenteeism indicator for elementary and unified school districts—high school
- a stand-alone academic indicator for high school districts—this was previously part of the
- college and career indicator calculation;
- the College and Career Indicator now reflects change; and
- alternative school data (DASS) are now included in a district’s overall Dashboard results.
Additionally, if student participation in standardized testing falls below 95 percent, the CDE will lower academic indicators for English Language Arts and Mathematics.
San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools Nancy Magee is pleased with the new indicators added to the Dashboard, “In its second year and after additional revisions, the California Dashboard is emerging as an effective tool to help school communities focus their continuous improvement efforts. The Dashboard is accomplishing its goal of providing a more comprehensive and data-driven understanding of how our students are doing in school.”
The Dashboard is not set up to allow easy comparisons between districts nor does it allow for aggregation of data on all students in the county. Rather, it is best used by individual districts to understand how their students are doing and identify opportunities to improve student outcomes. That said, the Dashboard data reveal that while districts have made progress improving outcomes for some student groups in some areas, persistent gaps among student groups remain.
Among the positive results reflected on the Dashboards of San Mateo County schools are the high number of districts that have improved on the College and Career Indicator. Additionally, several districts increased outcomes for foster youth across several indicators.
Along with the release of the updated Dashboard, the CDE has established criteria to identify districts that qualify for additional support from their county office of education. In San Mateo County, these include Brisbane, Burlingame, Jefferson Union, Ravenwood City, Redwood City, San Mateo Foster City, San Mateo Union High, Sequoia Union High, and South San Franciscon Unified school districts. Each district has each been identified to receive assistance to help address different state priorities for different student groups.
The County Office has begun to engage these districts in initial conversations about their unique needs. During these sessions, the district leadership team reviews the Dashboard data and generates some initial ideas on system-wide changes that might improve the outcomes for student groups identified by the CDE. The County Office then works in collaboration with the districts to engage in a continuous improvement process, which, over time, is designed to empower district leaders to make systemic changes in their practices that are aligned with state priorities and produce positive results for students.
According to Superintendent Magee, “We are off to a great start with our districts. They are committed to understanding the data and working in partnership with us to ensure that all of their students are making progress.”
First unveiled in March 2017, the Dashboard provides parents, educators, and the public with important information about schools in an easy-to-understand format. Unlike the previous accountability system, which relied exclusively on test scores and gave schools a single performance number, the Dashboard includes several measures of success to provide a more an in-depth picture of how students are doing over time. School districts may now dive deep into an extensive set of data to ensure that overall progress is not masking setbacks to individual student groups. The data also allow districts to develop Local Control Accountability Plans (LCAPs) and programs based on solid information about student needs.
Unlike previous programs, California’s new accountability system involves a more collaborative approach, with school districts serving as the primary drivers of the type of technical assistance and support they receive. Under the new system, the County Office of Education meets with districts identified for differentiated assistance to discuss their data and help them identify underlying causes, possible solutions, and resources or expertise that can help them improve student outcomes.
Since the school districts face varying challenges, the County Offices tailor their support to districts. Once school districts have a plan for addressing their challenges, they will decide how to make the improvements and can call on the County Office for assistance.
The San Mateo County Office of Education is committed to ensuring excellence and equity in education by inspiring students, investing in teachers, invigorating leaders, and involving communities.