Just like the last few SBE hearings, the July meeting focused on accountability and assessment and included extensive discussion but few official actions. Below is a summary of the key items, including the Evaluation Rubrics, the SARC, the Smarter Balanced Summative and Interim Assessments, the Digital Library, Technology, the California Alternate Assessment Field Test, the Next Generation Science Standards Assessments, and the ELD Standards implementation.
Evaluation Rubrics – Adoption Deadline Extended
One of the most significant pieces of the new accountability system is the Evaluation Rubrics. According to California Education Code Section 52064.5, the evaluation rubrics will allow LEAs to evaluate their strengths, weaknesses, and areas that require improvement; assist county superintendents of schools to identify needs and focus technical assistance; and assist the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to direct interventions when warranted. The rubrics are also expected to provide standards for school district and individual school site performance and expectations for improvement as related to the eight LCFF state priorities.
Originally, SBE was required to approve the rubrics by October 2015. However, the SBE discussion at the May SBE hearing brought to light the misalignment between the deadline for adopting the rubrics and the time needed to ensure the rubrics are built on a solid evidence-based foundation and implemented as a part of a coherent accountability system. The 2015-16 State Budget included a provision to extend the adoption timeline one year to October 2016.
The additional time is intended to allow CDE to work in collaboration with WestEd to prepare analyses of data related to state priorities to inform the content and structure of the rubrics. The extra time will also allow for the alignment of the rubrics to other emerging elements of the state’s accountability and support system and for the results of the new assessments to be taken into consideration.
At the July hearing, SBE members were presented with an updated evaluation rubrics plan and asked for feedback regarding a policy frame. Members also received a review of college and career accountability systems from other states that might help inform the design of California’s system. Over the next several months, the board will need to determine what indicators should be included in the rubrics. They will need to resolve what should replace the former Academic Performance Index (API) and how to incorporate it into both the rubrics and the LCAP. Finally, the board must decide how to apply the new standards to students in Special Education and, with that, how to hold LEAs responsible for moving all students forward.
School Accountability Report Card (SARC)
SBE approved three changes to the SARC:
- Updating the state assessment tables to delete the tables for the prior STAR exams and to include the 2014-15 results for the new CAASPP assessments in ELA and math
- Updating the state and federal accountability tables by deleting the two API tables and expanding the Average Yearly Progress (AYP) table to include all schools
- Adding a new student group, foster youth, where applicable
The new SARC template and a document aligning the SARC with the eight state priorities are both attached.
ASSESSMENT - California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP)– Update on Program Activities
Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments
According to CDE, this year’s operational test has run smoothly and the administration benefitted from last year’s field test of all eligible students.
Online Reporting System (ORS) to Report Preliminary Smarter Balanced Summative Assessment Results
On May 4, CDE launched the ORS for LEA CAASPP coordinators. ORS provides partial and preliminary individual student summative results and aggregate reports by LEA, school, content area, grade level, and student groups. Results are available approximately four weeks after a student completes a test in one of the content areas. Users will be able to view the average scale score for a specific group or entity and the number of completed assessments. However, users will only have access to their specific LEA or school.
Public Web Reporting of Statewide CAASPP Results
CDE will be releasing aggregate results for both the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments as well as the legacy assessments for science and reading language arts in Spanish on the CDE DataQuest Web site after testing has been completed. This release will likely occur in August 2015. As with the STAR reporting, this will provide state-, county-, LEA-, and school-level reports by student groups (e.g., gender, race/ethnicity, and economic status). The legacy assessments will be reported using the same platform as in previous years.
At the SBE hearing, board members expressed concern over the lateness of the results release since many districts will have already begun or be about to begin the school year. The members pushed back on the timing of the release, disturbed that it conflicted with the intent of the assessments to inform instruction.
Smarter Balanced Interim Assessments
CDE has made an Interim Assessment Viewing System available to LEA staff with access to the interim assessments. This “view only” interface allows educators to access and view the full range of interim assessments prior to administering them.
Smarter Balanced Digital Library
CDE is developing a Digital Library training video to help kindergarten through grade twelve (K-12) educators understand the formative assessment process, how to navigate and search for resources in the Digital Library, and how to use the Digital Library cross-state collaboration features. The video will be available on the CDE Digital Library Web page sometime this month.
The Broadband Infrastructure Improvement Grant (BIIG), which was developed to aide LEAs with network infrastructure issues, is ongoing. In fact, the 2015-16 State Budget contains $50 million in one-time funds for the K-12 High Speed Network (K12HSN) to support additional network connectivity infrastructure grants. Priority for the funds will be given to LEAs lacking sufficient bandwidth to administer state assessments. Projects with costs in excess of $1,000 per pupil will require approval from the Department of Finance (DOF). If funds remain after the first priorities are met, K12HSN may provide grants to under-connected LEAs in a cost-effective manner (and with approval from DOF). There are still 46 sites lacking network connectivity.
California Alternate Assessment Field Test (CAA)
The CAA Field test opened on April 15, and closed on June 10, 2015. Eligible students were given 15 items each in ELA and mathematics. Each content area took approximately 45–60 minutes to complete. The tests were computer-based and administered one-on-one with the examiner. CDE continues to have conversations with the National Center and State Collaborative (NCSC) as plans are developed for the 2015–16 operational test.
At the hearing, SBE approved the CAA Blueprints for ELA and mathematics. The development of the CAA blueprints focused on strengthening the link between the test items and grade-level Common Core State Standards and the Core Content Connectors (CCCs). The CCCs were developed by NCSC. The use of the blueprints will begin with the 2016 administration.
NCSC has an RFP with some states to develop an alternate assessment. While it is too late for California to participate in the RFP, the state may be able to “piggyback” by either using the assessment or by using items from the test in California’s assessment.
Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Assessments
CDE continues to work with state and national science educators and experts involved in NGSS assessment development work. CDE is a member of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) Science Assessment Item Collaborative (SAIC) – a collaborative of states established to develop high-quality summative science test items aligned to the NGSS that could be used by member states as they build state science assessments.
California English Language Development Standards (ELD Standards) Implementation
Following the adoption of the ELD Standards, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and SBE presented to the Governor, and the appropriate policy and fiscal committees of the Legislature, a schedule and implementation plan for integrating the new ELD Standards into the public education system.
The ELD Standards Implementation Plan identifies major phases and activities in the implementation of the ELD Standards throughout California’s educational system. The goal of the plan is to serve as a guide of the major steps in the development, adoption, and implementation of the standards for local educational agencies and county offices of education. ELD Standards Implementation Plan
At the SBE hearing, it was announced that the RFP for the new English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC) had been approved and that CDE and was moving forward.
Lee Angela Reid, Senior Legislative Advocate
CAPITOL ADVISORS GROUP