Technology for Learners
State Accountability Metrics in Transition
Author: Rick Phelan
California is in transition with its K-12 public school accountability measures. The State Board of Education is currently reviewing ideas to replace the Academic Performance Index (API). Used for more than 10 years, the API was almost exclusively based on 1997 California Standards in English-language arts and mathematics, using annual STAR exams and other measures to create a simple metric for accountability purposes. With full implementation of Common Core State Standards and the accompanying Smarter Balanced Assessment system, the State Board of Education acknowledges the need for change.
Since work in public schools is now largely based on outcomes described in Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAPs), the State Board of Education hopes to center new accountability measures on these plans. Board members are reviewing evaluation rubrics specific to the eight priority areas of the LCAP:
- Basic services
- Common Core State Standards
- Parent involvement
- Student achievement
- Student engagement
- School climate
- Course access
- Other student outcomes
Initial activities have focused on standards for district/site performance and expectations for continuous improvement. The State Board is also looking for tools that will be effective for district self-assessment and improvement. They want to establish metrics that will be helpful to schools and transparent to parents and the community at large. Board members have expressed concern over the lack of data and research to support the creation of new performance standards. Further analysis is being done by WestEd and California Department of Education staff.
The challenge is how to intertwine a new accountability system that allows comparability among California school districts with the overall accountability structure of the LCAP.