The State Board of Education (SBE) met on July 11-12, 2018 with the focus on state and federal accountability. Below you will find a brief summary of the key items followed by information on the remaining regular agenda items and waiver requests heard by the Board.
- Integrated Local, State, and Federal Accountability and Continuous Improvement System – The Board decided to continue and broaden its consideration of a growth model for the Dashboard, expanded application of the Safety Net to student groups, and approved a three-year timeline for the English Learner Progress Indicator (ELPI).
- ESSA – The Board approved final revisions to the California State Plan for implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) for resubmission to and subsequent approval by Secretary DeVos.
- Charter Authorization Petitions – The Board approved two petitions and denied one with different split votes on every action.
Integrated Accountability and Continuous Improvement System
Student-Level Growth Model
For the past several months, the SBE has been exploring the use of a student-level growth model for possible inclusion in the 2018 Dashboard. At its meeting in May, the Board, after being presented with three different growth models, directed staff to perform further tests using the Residual Gains Growth Model (RGGM). The findings from these tests, which were presented to the Board as part of this month’s meeting, showed that the RGGM does not indicate how much improvement is needed to bring a student up to Level 3 (Standard Met) or show if a student is on track to reach proficiency – data many of the advocates for individual student representation were hoping a growth model would provide.
Additionally, using the RGGM resulted in cases where a school could increase its Status while having negative growth, a result inconsistent with the continuous improvement model the SBE has adopted. Possibly the most concerning finding for the Board was that, when used on the most recent 2017 Smarter Balanced Summative Assessment results, the RGGM resulted in low year-to-year stability within the outcomes. According to Educational Testing Services (ETS), who performed the tests, such volatility could make it difficult for schools to use the growth data, since decisions made one year could be contradicted by the next year’s data. ETS’ complete findings were initially included in a memorandum published by CDE last month, which can be found here.
The initial timeline called for the RGGM to be presented at the September SBE meeting for inclusion in the 2018 Dashboard. However, the results from the ETS evaluation made it clear that the RGGM would not provide the data the Board sought, forcing it to further reassess its goals and expectations for a student-level growth model.
After lengthy discussion on the issue, the Board ultimately unanimously agreed on a need for further study of the RGGM, including the impact of future years’ data and changes in the model to reduce year-to-year volatility, but also on the need for consideration of additional growth models.
Safety Net Methodology
Designed to prevent large data swings in small student populations, the Safety Net Methodology removes the ‘Declined Significantly’ and the ‘Increased Significantly’ Change columns from the typical five-by-five grid for student performance levels, producing a three-by-five-grid for certain indicators. On the Fall 2017 Dashboard, the Safety Net was applied at the school and LEA level to the Graduation Rate and Suspension Rate Indicators for small student populations (under 150 students). At the July meeting, the SBE unanimously approved expanding the application of the Safety Net for student (sub)groups. The Safety Net would apply to the Graduation Rate Indicator for all student groups if they have 30-149 students in the graduation cohort and to the Suspension Rate Indicator for all student groups that have 30-149 students cumulatively enrolled.
As part of their future work, CDE will be looking at whether or not the Safety Net should also be applied for the Chronic Absenteeism and College/Career Indicators.
English Learner Progress Indicator
ESSA requires states to have a measurement for English Learner (EL) progress towards English language proficiency. In September 2016, the Board adopted the current ELPI Methodology, which uses Status to measure growth toward proficiency and Change to measure the year-to-year change in the rate schools and LEAs move EL students toward proficiency. Under this adopted methodology, two years of English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC) data is needed to report Status for the ELPI. An additional year, for a total of three years, of ELPAC data is needed to be able to report Change for the ELPI.
With currently only one year of ELPAC data, CDE asked the Board to approve a three-year timeline for the full implementation of the ELPI. Under this timeline, the 2018 Dashboard would only report ELPAC performance levels, the 2019 Dashboard would include only Status for the ELPI, and the 2020 Dashboard would be the first time when both Status and Change would be included for the ELPI. Board Member Straus raised concerns with waiting until 2020 to include Change for the ELPI when there might be sufficient data for a calculation in 2019.
Board Member Straus proposed, and the Board unanimously approved, the three-year timeline but with the addition of a CDE report to the Board, following the collection of the second year of ELPAC data, related to the feasibility of using the data for accountability purposes in the 2019 Dashboard.
Looking ahead, the Spring 2018 ELPAC Summative results will become available in August 2018. The 2018 Dashboard report will likely be approved by the Board at its September 2018 meeting and ELPAC Performance Levels for schools and LEAs using 2018 ELPAC data will then be reported as part of the 2018 Dashboard release.
ESSA and California’s State Plan
In 2015, ESSA replaced No Child Left Behind (NCLB). ESSA differs from NCLB by giving states more flexibility to use accountability systems that reflect local values and goals. ESSA requires every state that receives federal money for low-income students and English learners (Title I funds) to submit and receive approval of a plan for managing and using the funds. California receives $1.8 billion in Title I funds through ESSA.
California’s challenge has been to create a plan that addresses the requirements of ESSA, which focuses support at the school level, within the broader context of the state’s K-12 accountability system which largely centers on supporting districts.
As you may recall, in September 2017, California submitted its proposed ESSA State Plan for approval by the federal Department of Education (ED). In April 2018, in response to interim feedback from the ED related to some elements of the plan, the State Plan was revised and approved by the Board for resubmission.
In early June, the ED advised CDE and SBE staff that additional issues had been identified in the newly revised state plan and formally requested additional clarification relative to two main areas: inclusion of the Chronic Absence and College/Career Indicators and School Identification for specified support.
Below are summaries of the proposed revisions approved by the State Board at the July hearing. These changes were negotiated with the ED and on July 12, 2018, Secretary DeVos approved California’s ESSA State Plan.
Chronic Absence and College/Career Indicators
The ED expressed concern that California had not provided five-by-five grids for either indicator in the State Plan. However, the grids cannot be created without a second year of data which will not be available until November 2018. Therefore, the plan was revised to state that California will not use either indicator for meaningful differentiation until the Board creates a five-by five grid and submits an amendment reflecting that five-by-five grid. Both indicators, however, will remain in the Dashboard as performance indicators.
ESSA requires states to identify a number of types of low-performing schools for different kinds of support and to include in their State Plan the means of identification to be utilized.
The supports include Comprehensive Support, Targeted Support and Additional Targeted Support. The most recent revisions to the State Plan made changes relative to the definition of “consistently underperforming” subgroups used to identify schools for targeted support and additional targeted support.
Lowest Performing Title I Schools – The lowest performing five percent of Title I schools must be identified for comprehensive support.
California will base identification on performance criteria related to the Dashboard. Specifically:
- Schools with all Red indicators
- Schools with all Red but one indicator of any other color
- Schools with all Red and Orange indicators
- Schools with more than five indicators where the majority are Red
High Schools with Graduation Rates Below 67 Percent – Identification, also for comprehensive support that can be integrated into local existing efforts, will be based on a weighted three-year average rather than on being below 67 percent in three consecutive years.
Targeted Support and Additional Targeted Support
Schools with “consistently underperforming” Student Groups must be identified for targeted support. These schools must be identified annually, must develop and implement a targeted support and improvement plan for each student group that meets the identification criteria and that plan must be approved by the district.
Schools identified as having “consistently underperforming” student groups that have a student group on its own performing at or below the level of schools identified as part of the “lowest performing five percent” will also be targeted for additional targeted support. These schools must be identified every three years, must develop and implement a targeted support and improvement plan for each student group that meets the identification criteria that is approved by the district, and must be identified for comprehensive support if they do not exit within four years. Schools meet the exit criteria from federal identification only if their Status has improved on the relevant indicators.
In the prior version of the State Plan, schools with “consistently underperforming” student groups were defined as student groups that meet the performance criteria for the lowest performing Title I schools (all Red, all Red and Orange, etc.,) in three out of four consecutive years.
However, California cannot use this definition in the 2018-19 school year because the state will not have three years of valid Dashboard data. According to the ED, because California would not have sufficient data, the state would not be able to identify schools for additional targeted support and improvement in 2018-19 from among schools that have a “consistently underperforming” student group. Instead the state would have to apply the criteria to all schools statewide based on the 2018 Dashboard.
In response to the ED’s interpretation, the definition of “consistently underperforming” was modified to be a subgroup that receives at least two color-coded performance ratings on the Dashboard indicators and, on its own, meets the criteria used to identify at least the lowest performing Title I schools statewide in two consecutive years (based on the Fall 2017 Dashboard and the 2018 Dashboard). Schools will be identified for additional targeted support and improvement beginning in the 2018-19 school year and will be identified every three years thereafter. When additional years of data become available, SBE can submit an amendment to the state plan, as appropriate.
According to CDE, although these revisions move up the timelines of the identification process, the policy previously adopted by the Board remains largely the same since identification is based on multiple years of data. There is no material impact on California’s accountability system or the Dashboard.
The Board was very divided in its review of petitions to establish charter schools under the oversight of the State Board of Education after they were denied at the local level. After extensive discussion and lengthy public hearings, the Board ultimately approved two petitions and denied one – all on split votes. Additional information on the petitions acted upon by the Board during the hearing can be found in here under Charter Schools.
Other SBE Agenda Items and SBE Waiver Requests
The full SBE meeting agenda can be found here.
- On July 19, 2018