The basics behind state's new school improvement system
For the past year, EdSource has followed the development of the new school improvement and accountability system that the State Board of Education is leading. The 10-question primer that follows provides an overview of the work so far and what lies ahead.
What does a state school accountability system do?
Using objective measures of student performance, an accountability system can serve multiple purposes. It can:
- Identify districts’ and schools’ areas of strength and weakness and gaps of achievement among student subgroups;
- Let parents know how their school and students subgroups within a school are doing compared with others in their district and the state;
- Identify lowest-performing schools receiving federal Title I funding for low-income students (those schools must receive extensive assistance to improve under federal law);
- Help teachers and principals set strategies for improvement;
- Guide the community in setting priorities and directing funding in their annual budget and planning document, the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP).
Why is California changing its system?
For 15 years, the state used the Academic Performance Index (API) to rank schools and districts based on standardized test scores, which critics considered a one-dimensional view of performance that led schools to focus too much attention on test results. The Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown created a framework for a broader accountability system in 2013 through the Local Control Funding Formula. The law says school districts should pay attention to eight priorities, including school climate, parent engagement and the implementation of new state academic standards as well as student achievement. The The basics behind state’s new school improvement system | EdSource: