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Accountability Dashboard


California School Dashboard

To help parents and educators identify strengths and areas for improvement, California reports how districts, schools (including alternative schools serving high-risk students), and student groups are performing across state and local measures.

For state measures, performance is based on two factors:

  1. Current year results, and
  2. Whether results improved from the prior year.

Performance on state measures, using comparable statewide data, is represented by one of five colors. The performance level (color) is not included when there are fewer than 30 students in any year. This is represented using a grey color dial with the words 'No Performance Color'.

lowest to highest performances examples

State measures include chronic absenteeism, graduation rate, suspension rate, and academic (which includes performance in English language arts/literacy and mathematics). Future state measures will include performance on the California Science Test.

Local measures are reported by school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools based on data available only at the local level. These measures include clean and safe buildings, school climate, parent engagement, and access to a broad course of study. This information is not available for individual schools or student groups.

Based on performance on state and local measures, schools and districts may be identified for support to improve student outcomes.

Based on the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), which was passed in 2013, California has a new accountability system that is based on multiple measures. These measures are used to determine progress made by schools, districts and county offices of education ("Local Education Agencies" -- LEAs) toward meeting the needs of their students. The measures are based on factors that contribute to a quality education, including high school graduation rates, college/career readiness, student test scores, English learner (EL) progress, suspension rates, and parent engagement.

The sweeping overhaul of California's Accountability and Continuous Improvement System, ushered in with the LCFF, not only gives California a chance to address historical inequities, but provides the California Department of Education an opportunity to better support California's schools and its students.

Performance on these multiple measures are reported through the new California School Dashboard. The new accountability system reflects a clear expectation that all LEAs and schools can and should improve and emphasizes equity by focusing on student group performance. This new multiple measures system replaces the former Academic Performance Index (API), which was based solely on testing results, and the federal requirement to calculate Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).

LEA and school performance in the ten LCFF priority areas are measured using a combination of state and local indicators.

Parent Resources

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The Dashboard has a New Look (PDF)
The 2018 Dashboard has a new look! Dashboard 2.0 is friendlier, simpler to use, and easier to understand.

Getting to Know the 2018 California School Dashboard (PDF)
A one page document to help communicate the California School Dashboard to Stakeholders.

Getting to Know the Measures (PDF)
A two page document that explains the six state measures that provide important information on how schools are serving their students.

How Dashboard Colors are Determined (PDF)
This document explains how the performance colors are determined on the Dashboard.

College/Career Indicator for 2018 Dashboard (PDF)
A quick overview of the state indicator that measures the preparedness of students after high school graduation.

5 things you need to know

about the California School Dashboard


1. The dashboard is aligned with California’s academic standards, but it goes way beyond test scores.

Published online, the California School Dashboard features an array of data to help parents, educators and the public evaluate the strengths and challenges of their schools and districts. The dashboard also helps determine which schools and districts require special assistance.

The California School Dashboard uses color-coded pie pieces and other gauges to present a more comprehensive set of metrics. While it may take a little more time to grasp, it’s expected to be more useful than the API to parents, educators and the public.


2. The dashboard is based on state and local performance indicators that might look familiar.

Each year, the California School Dashboard displays scores based on about a dozen state and local indicators. These indicators are specifically aligned with 10 priority areas spelled out in the state’s overhauled funding formula. The same priority areas are also embedded in the local accountability plans that are updated annually by districts and charter schools.

The state indicators are:

  • Chronic absenteeism

  • Suspension rate

  • English learner progress

  • Graduation rate

  • College and career

  • Academic (English language arts and math)

State indicator results are based on how schools or subgroups performed overall (known as their “status”), as well as how much they improved or declined over a three-year period (referred to as “change”).

The local indicators are:

  • Appropriately assigned teachers, access to curriculum-aligned instructional materials and safe, clean and functional school facilities

  • Implementation of academic standards

  • Parent engagement

  • School climate

  • Coordination of services for expelled students (This applies to county offices of education only.)

  • Coordination of services for foster youth (Again, this is just for county offices of education.)

Schools, districts and county offices self-report their local indicators based on locally available data.


3. The California School Dashboard relies on visual graphics to show performance and growth.

For the state indicators, color-coded pie pieces represent school and subgroup performance levels. Ranked from least favorable to most favorable, the performance levels are red (one slice), orange (two slices), yellow (three slices), green (four slices) and blue (a full pie).

You can learn more about how each color is assigned by visiting the California Accountability Model & School Dashboard webpage, but the general idea is that the colors are gauges of how well the school or subgroup performed overall (status) and how much it improved or worsened over a three-year period (change).

Here’s a sample:

Example Chart of State Indicators

The imaginary school above would have boasted favorable suspension and graduation rates but produced low English scores and very low math scores.

Again, those scores above refer to the state indicators. The local indicators are represented differently. Rather than using color-coded pie pieces, the dashboard notes whether each local goal has been “met,” “not met” or “not met for more than two years.”


4. It’s not just a tool for parents and the public. The California School Dashboard also serves as the basis for technical assistance.

Under the provisions of the Local Control Funding Formula — that’s the state’s K-12 funding mechanism — schools and districts are eligible for technical assistance from their county office of education if certain performance benchmarks are not met over time. To learn more, refer to page 56 of the CDE’s Technical Guide for New Accountability System (PDF).


5. The state has published guides and other resources for those who want to dive a little deeper.

The California Department of Education has compiled the following resources for those seeking more information:

Courtesy of Orange County Dept of Education Newsroom

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