By Nancy Kotowski, Ph.D., Monterey County Superintendent of Schools
As the direction of public education continues to evolve, one of the major changes for schools is California’s new online accountability system. This new system is designed to help communities access important information about the progress of K–12 schools and districts. Called the California School Dashboard, the site features easy-to-read reports on multiple measures of school success that go beyond test scores to include graduation rates, English learner progress, college and career readiness, and suspension rates. It is the next step in a series of major shifts in public education that have raised the bar for student learning, transformed testing and placed the focus on equity for all students.
The California School Dashboard shows that student achievement is more than one number. In the past, we relied solely on test scores to measure student success. However, one test taken on one particular day does not provide a complete picture of how students are achieving.
Many indicators of school success will now be reported as the intersection of status (how each school or district performed last year) and change (how much they have improved or declined in the past three years). It works like this: five levels of performance will be represented in colors from high (Blue and Green) to medium (Yellow) to low (Orange and Red).
Using Monterey County’s graduation rate as an example, here is how it works to give a more in-depth view of performance:
Starting with the most current graduation rate of 84.5% in 2015 (status), there was a 4.3% increase over the three-year average graduation rate from 2012, 2013 and 2014 (change). Therefore, the performance category for the graduation rate in Monterey County is Yellow.
Monterey County’s current graduation rate (status) is 84.5%, just below the cut-off point of 85% and the three-year average improvement (change) was 4.3%, just below the cut-off point of 5%. Although Monterey County’s graduation rate is above the state average (82.3%), we are categorized as Yellow, narrowly missing the Green category.
To learn more about public education, the 2016 Monterey County Education Report to the Community is available in English and Spanish online at www.montereycoe.org/superintendent/annual-report-to-the-community/index