Dr. Kirst and Dr. Straus were both re-elected as President and Vice President of the board, respectively, and it was announced that Dr. Carl Cohn has stepped down from the board. His absence creates a second vacancy on the board. In other news, it was announced that both Diane Hernandez, Director of the Assessment Development and Administration Division and Christine Swenson, Director of the Improvement and Accountability Division are retiring.
The board meeting was one day rather than the usual two days, so members moved relatively quickly through the items. The board only took significant time and action in one area – accountability. The rest of the hearing centered largely on updates in three other areas – LCFF, assessment (California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress system), and CTE.
California’s Accountability Workbook
One of the biggest debates during the hearing surrounded the proposed amendments to California’s Accountability Workbook, which is submitted to the US Department of Education, because of the impact on the 2015 Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) determinations. Concerns were raised over how parents will view the results, particularly if, as expected, initial scores are low. After much deliberation, and some key amendments clarifying that the AYP determinations will be based on participation rates on Smarter Balanced Assessments and not Smarter Balanced Student results, the board approved the changes.
New Accountability System
The other item generating a lot of discussion and public comment surrounded the development of the new accountability system, or, what many call the “revised API.” The Public Schools Accountability Act Advisory Committee (PSAA) has been working over roughly the last two years to address the mandates of Senate Bill 1458 (Steinberg), Chapter 577, Statutes of 2012, which requires that by 2016, assessments shall not constitute more than 60 percent of the high school API and that the remaining 40 percent must include other indicators such as graduation data and college and career readiness. The PSAA has met diligently, but has struggled with the best means to define career readiness. In addition, LCFF, and the LCAP, have also added to the complexity of the issue by raising questions about how all the pieces fit together – specifically, how does the API, which operates at the state level, fit into a system defined by local control and the eight state priorities?
At the board hearing, both public and board comment further illustrated the difficulty in finding resolution as expressed concerns ranged from questions regarding ability to compare schools and districts across the state, how to truly define career readiness, where programs like Regional Occupational Centers and Programs were in the conversation, and whether an API for 2015-16 was feasible. After a lengthy debate, the board directed the PSAA and CDE staff to expand the involvement of stakeholders in the process, and to come back to the board in March with recommended options for: 1) moving the state accountability system from using a single index to using multiple measure to parallel the state priorities; 2) an alternative point scale for the new accountability system and 3) the most appropriate timing for the release of the next accountability reporting cycle. The feeling in the audience was that there is still a long way to go.
Local Control Funding Formula - Click here
For once, LCFF was one of the least debated items at an SBE hearing. With the new LCAP template complete and the development of the rubrics in process, there weren’t any actions the board needed to take other than to approve submission of a report to the Legislature on the status of LCFF implementation.
The report can be found here: http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/ag/ag/yr15/documents/jan15item05a1.pdf
Staff did provide an update on LCFF issues, resources and the evaluation rubrics that I have attached as a single document.
California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress Update
National Center and State Collaborative (NCSC) – Phase II Pilot conducted with total of 6,313 students who submitted test scores – 1,533 or 24% from California – largest from any participating state. Technical reports for the Phase I and Phase II Pilot will be available in the fall of 2015.
Spring 2015 Alternate Field Test in ELA and Mathematics – Item development continues. Educational Testing Service conducted a focus group of educators to gather information regarding types of items. One item review was held on December 2014 and another is scheduled for February 2015. The test administration manual and a training Webcast are scheduled to be released in March 2015.
Technology – The RFP for the Broadband Infrastructure Improvement Grants (BIIG) created in last year’s budget to assist districts with the internet connectivity and infrastructure needed for the online state assessments, closed on December 8, 2014. The sites have been selected and 227 sites will receive a share of the nearly $27 million allocation.
Digital Library – Enrollment in the Digital Library, an online warehouse that contains tools and resources to support teachers in the use of formative assessment practices, has grown to 155,000 teachers from 4,980 school sites. The Library holds over 2,500 resources. CDE is working to further increase awareness and enrollment as access remains an issue.
Interim Assessments – The Smarter Balanced Interim Comprehensive Assessments (ICA) are expected to be released in the next few days with the Interim Assessment Blocks, which assess smaller sets of skills, to be released on January 27, 2015. More information on the interim assessments can be found here: http://www.smarterbalanced.org/interim-assessments/. Reporting results for the ICA will be consistent with the summative assessment - providing an overall scale score, achievement level, and a claim score per content area/subject. ICAs are reported locally, not to the state.
Achievement Level Setting – The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium voted to approve achievement levels for the ELA/Literacy and mathematics assessments. The levels serve as a starting point for discussion about student performance but there are other measures that can also be used to help evaluate academic progress. More information on the achievement levels can be found here: http://www.smarterbalanced.org/achievement-levels/.
2014-15 Smarter Balanced Summative Assessment Results – Individual student results will be reported as overall scale scores, performance levels, and as performance at the claim level. An LEA can view a student’s test results for a content area electronically within four weeks of a student completing testing through either the Testing contractor’s Test Operations and Management System or the Smarter Balanced online reporting system. LEAs will have access to both reporting sites. Individual Student Reports (ISRs), which will include test results for all Smarter Balanced and non-Smarter Balanced Assessments (science, for example), will also be provided. LEAs will receive the paper versions of the ISRs within eight weeks and parents can expect to receive them within 20 business days of receipt by the LEA.
Note: another resource, My Digital Chalkboard, a revamping of the former Brokers of Expertise site that contains among other items, tools for educators to use in the classroom related to the Common Core State Standards, can be found here: (https://www.mydigitalchalkboard.org/)
Career Technical Education
Career Pathways Expansion – CDE staff provided a detailed presentation on Career Technical Education in California, including history and status of programs and plans for future expansion. The full update can be found here.