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By Dr. Mary Sieu, ABCUSD Superintendent
For over a decade, public schools in California were rated and ranked according to the State Testing And Reporting (STAR) system. The Academic Performance Index (API) provided a single score for each school as well as ranked and compared them with similar schools throughout the State.
The score was based on the results of the California Standards Tests. Many parents, community members and real estate agents used the API to compare the schools’ academic achievement.
The test results were also used to determine whether the schools receiving Title I funds met their federal benchmark goals called Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).
Schools that did not meet these federal goals were identified as failing or needing improvement and sanctions were applied.
Congress has been deliberating on reauthorizing the Elementary Secondary Schools Act (formerly known as No Child Left Behind) for seven years now.
The AYP is still scheduled to be released at the end of this year. These dual systems of accountability were often viewed as complex and confusing especially to the parents and the community at large.
There is a significant change underway in determining how schools will be rated in the future.
The familiar API has been suspended by the State Superintendent and the State Board of Education since the 2014-15 school year.
The State is in the process of developing a more comprehensive accountability system based on multiple measures rather than a single index as in the past.
The new system would be designed to focus on multiple indicators, such as graduation data and student preparedness for college and career and not only on test scores.
One of the State’s top priorities is to develop an accountability system that meets California’s needs by looking at a broad range of measures defining student and school success, rather than relying on just one test.
Last spring, ABC Unified School District administered the California Assessment of Student Progress and Performance (CAASPP) tests.
The Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments for English language arts/literacy and mathematics were administered in grades three through eight and grade eleven.
The Science assessments were given in grades five, eight, and ten along with the California Modified Assessment and California Alternate Performance Assessment.
The results for the computer-based Smarter Balanced Summative Assessment were provided to the teachers, parents and are available on the District’s website (“Local Control Accountability Plan-Report for Pupil Achievement”).
They are used as a baseline year and should not be compared with the results of the California Standards Test from the previous years.
Unlike the past, there will not be an API calculated and posted during the 2015-16 school year. The term API may no longer even be used.
The California Department of Education and State Board of Education is still working on the development of a new state accountability system that compliments the Local Control Funding Formula state priorities and will focus on a broader set of outcomes than in the past.
The transition to the new state accountability system will be a long term process.
The earliest the State will be able to produce a new state accountability report may be in the fall of 2016.
In the meantime, we will keep the readers and communities informed as we move forward with the changes in the new accountability system for schools.
For more information, please check out the District’s website at: www.abcusd.k12.ca.us. Look for “CAASP-Parent Guide to the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments” and “Understanding the CAASPP Individual Student Score Report. These are available in English and Spanish.
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