The California School Dashboard https://www.caschooldashboard.org/ offers meaningful information on school and district progress that parents and educators can review online. We want to use this edition of the Superintendent’s Road Show to highlight recent updates to the Dashboard, as well as to show you how LEUSD uses the Dashboard to guide instruction.
The CA School Dashboard continues to evolve as the reporting tool for the CAASP accountability system. This year’s Dashboard may not look familiar because of a new graphical interface and menu layout. Improvements for Dashboard users include visual “gauges” to quickly determine achievement status for all state and local indicators. The Dashboard and its underlying accountability reports are the foundation for local plans and action to improve student learning. These reports provide comparative or change information to illustrate progress among student subgroups, such as foster youth and English Learners.
What has not changed are the five color-coded performance levels that give meaning to each indicator. From highest to lowest, the five performance levels are: Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange, and Red. The state target is for all student subgroups to be in the Green. When achievement is not meeting progress, performance levels are marked Orange or Red. These colors also act as “flags” for needed corrective action at the school or district level.
What you need to know about the CA School Dashboard
The Dashboard was created to give parents and the public a better idea of what is happening in our schools and districts; achievement areas that need extra help are more easy to identify using the Dashboard.
The Dashboard is designed to measure growth performance—when student achievement appears “stuck” below state target levels, the Dashboard will also help pinpoint the affected students or subgroups who should receive additional instructional support.
The Dashboard tracks 12 state and local indicators or multiple measures. Simply put, broader measures enable better decisions about what to do when students and schools struggle, and validates what schools are doing when student achievement soars.
The state indicators are:
- College/Career Readiness (includes Grade 11 assessment results)
- English Language Arts
- English Learner Progress (new, reflects status only, next year will show status and change)
- Graduation Rate
- Suspension Rate
- Chronic Absenteeism
The local indicators summarize how schools and districts are performing in:
- Basic Conditions of Learning (Teachers, Instructional Materials, Facilities)
- Implementation of State Academic Standards
- Parent and Family Engagement
- School Climate, as measured by a local climate survey (given by LEUSD annually)
- Access to a Broad Course of Study
- Outcomes in a Broad Course of Study
LEUSD schools use the Dashboard to guide instruction and support student achievement on a regular basis. Teachers meet weekly during PLC time armed with Dashboard data, along with other assessments, to make adjustments to instruction, to ensure students are successful.
The district uses the Dashboard to devise goals and strategies for learning and instruction, culminating with the annual Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP), which ties performance goals to measurable outcomes. The LCAP is also reviewed by the County and State, to ensure consistency in how progress is measured, reported and tracked, and for funding allocation and fiscal accountability.
Under the School Dashboard, an LEUSD school principal is charged with overseeing 70 color-coded indicators. He or she will want to focus on areas of need indicated by orange and red. That means coordinating district support and prioritizing action by teachers and support staff to boost student success in a unified effort to close the achievement gap.
If the Dashboard seems more complicated than the former API or single numerical score used to report school accountability, that’s because it is. The Dashboard uses more “building blocks”—more comprehensive data—to illustrate student achievement in greater detail than a single score or value can convey. At the district level, no fewer than 1,680 indicators show how all our students and subgroups are performing at all 23 schools.
Is accountability and the CA School Dashboard primarily for educators? No. Education is a partnership between families and schools, where accountability measures such as the Dashboard are used to show parents and guardians how their child’s school is performing. The Dashboard also indicates how we are doing as a district, and areas in greater need of attention. For example, the School Dashboard shines light on where we must focus to close the achievement gap to support our subgroups, such as foster youth and English Learners.
With a growth model of accountability such as the School Dashboard, real progress—moving from Red to Orange, Orange to Yellow, Yellow to Green—is what validates our efforts to boost success for all TK-12 learners.