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A state advisory committee that spent more than two years trying to find a way to rejigger the Academic Performance Index is now recommending moving away from that single number in favor of a more comprehensive system allowing for a broader picture of school effectiveness.

In a unanimous vote Tuesday, the Public Schools Accountability Act Advisory Committee approved a recommendation calling on the state to replace the API, the three-digit number that since 1999 has been the dominant means by which schools are measured.

Instead, California should adopt a system that relies on “multiple measures” to evaluate schools, the committee said. Such a system – which has yet to be determined – would be better aligned with the requirements of the new school funding law, the Local Control Funding Formula. The law sets out eight priority areas districts must focus on, including pupil achievement and engagement, implementation of academic standards and other factors. Standardized test scores, the sole component of the API, would be just one part of a new system.

“It really does indicate a swing in the way we think about school quality and really preparing students for success later on,” said committee member Julianne Hoefer, director of assessment and accountability for the Fountain Valley Unified School District. “It does allow us to stop looking for the ‘magic bullet’ and start looking for what is right for individuals.”

The committee’s recommendation is in keeping with the direction seemingly favored by the State Board of Education, which will ultimately decide how or whether to change the state accountability system. State Board of Education President Michael Kirst has said the API, a score between 200 and 1,000, has outlived its effectiveness as the sole measure of school quality. He has called for a more comprehensive view of school performance that would function something like a “dashboard,” providing a snapshot of various factors.

In January, the State Board of Education asked the accountability advisory committee to study whether a “single index” – the API – was the best measure of school performance or whether a broader system would be more effective. Such a system could include measures like absenteeism, suspension and expulsion rates, course-taking patterns, test scores, graduation rates and other factors to evaluate how well schools are serving students.

In a separate but related action, the committee signed off on a list of initial measures that could be included in one portion of the new system – how to measure how well schools are preparing students to succeed in college and careers, a goal outlined in the new Local Control Funding Formula and in the Common Core State Standards being rolled out in California schools. Factors included in the initial “college and career indicator” approved by the committee are student participation in SAT and ACT college entrance exams; students in Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses; students taking the sequence of courses, called a-g, required to be eligible for admission to California State University and University of California; and the number of students who take career technical education courses. The list will likely grow, with more details and additional measurements, as the committee continues its work.

“It seems like we’ve moved to a new era from where we were in the 1990s,” said Kenneth Young, Riverside County superintendent of schools and co-chair of the Public Schools Accountability Act Advisory Committee.

The state board is expected to discuss the committee’s recommendation for a new accountability system at its March meeting. Such a change would also require legislation to alter existing laws that call for an annual API score.

The API “helped accomplish some amazing things,” said Kenneth Young, Riverside County superintendent of schools, who serves as co-chair of the Public Schools Accountability Act Advisory Committee. The API helped schools target low-achieving students for intervention, he said, and also allowed parents to compare and evaluate schools based on test scores.

Still, the score is limited in what it reveals about other measures of schools’ effectiveness, he said.

“It seems like we’ve moved to a new era from where we were in the 1990s,” Young said.

The committee did not discuss specifics of what the new measurement system will look like, but said it should be easily understandable to the public and should allow for comparisons between schools. Pending board approval, details would be worked out in coming months through a process that will allow for public input and discussion, said Keric Ashley, interim deputy superintendent at the California Department of Education.

However, such a system could not be ready for use until fall 2016 at the earliest, the committee said in a partner recommendation also approved Tuesday. That timeline will give the state time to evaluate results expected this year of the new computerized tests, the Smarter Balanced Assessments, that are aligned to the Common Core State Standards. *While teachers will have student scores two to four weeks after testing is completed in their classrooms, the state Department of Education will not have statewide results until late August – leading some committee members to question if even 2016 is too ambitious a timeline.

Doug McRae, a retired testing expert, cautioned against going too long without releasing some data on school performance. The State Board of Education has already suspended the release of the API this year during the transition to the Smarter Balanced tests, and some groups, including the Los Angeles Unified School Board, have asked the state board to postpone the release again next academic year.

While the full range of 2015 Smarter Balanced test scores will not be valid enough to use to evaluate school performance, McRae said, some subsets of the scores, if validated, could be used to provide a picture of how well schools are doing.

The Public Schools Accountability Act Advisory Committee has been working to reconfigure the API after a 2012 state law required that the measure be changed to incorporate how well schools are preparing students for success in college and careers. That charge became increasingly complicated after the passage of the Local Control Funding Formula, which requires districts to file Local Control and Accountability Plans outlining how they are meeting the eight priority areas.

Any new accountability system is intended to complement the work schools are doing in their LCAPs, officials said.

* Story updated Feb. 4 to clarify details around timing of test results.


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  1. SD Parent 2 years ago2 years ago

    Ms. Maitre, states, “Such a system could include measures like absenteeism, suspension and expulsion rates, course-taking patterns, test scores, graduation rates and other factors to evaluate how well schools are serving students.” Absenteeism? Really? Who cares what the kid learns so long as his backside warms a seat in the classroom? Fundamentally, I find student attendance much more a factor of the student and his/her family than the school. If Johnny … Read More

    Ms. Maitre, states, “Such a system could include measures like absenteeism, suspension and expulsion rates, course-taking patterns, test scores, graduation rates and other factors to evaluate how well schools are serving students.”

    Absenteeism? Really? Who cares what the kid learns so long as his backside warms a seat in the classroom? Fundamentally, I find student attendance much more a factor of the student and his/her family than the school. If Johnny sleeps in or prefers to hang out behind the liquor store than go to class–because, let’s face it, teenagers make stupid decisions–is that really a measure of a school’s performance? If Suzy misses the bus because mom fell asleep after working the night shift, why is that a measure of the school’s performance? That’s not to say that time in the classroom isn’t linked to learning, but by separating them on a school’s performance score (I won’t use the term API, because I agree with Don, these parameters don’t measure academic performance), are we just showing that kids did poorly at Smith Elementary because no one showed up for class?

    Similarly, I understand PBIS and Restorative Justice, but keeping Mike in the Vice Principal’s office rather than suspending him after he hurts someone isn’t going to help him learn, so is the expulsion-suspension rate a measure of the school or Mike’s anger management skills? While I like the idea of schools taking a proactive approach to teaching anger management (and not be quick to throw the student out when he/she acts out), I’m pretty sure that “anger management” isn’t listed as a subject in the Ed Code mandates. And again, it’s more likely a factor of parenting and social environment than the school, so why use that as a measure of school performance?

    Thinking outside the box, how about if we add another “score” to a students’ class record. Instead of just academic and citizenship, we add a category for “effort.” Sally came to class every day and worked hard, so she gets an E (excellent) for effort, even if she didn’t actually understand the material. Meanwhile, Billy might get an A on his test, but rarely bothered to do/turn in the homework and skipped class, so perhaps he gets an “N” (needs improvement). And, I know it’s the third rail, but how about the students evaluate the teachers–are they respectful, do they have high expectations for all students, do they explain the material clearly, are they approachable/accessible, are their lessons engaging, is the work load fair, etc.–because we can’t really figure out how to improve student success until we figure out what is not working, and the quality of the teacher is one measure (they just don’t like to be measured).

    Finally, yes, the API is viewed by parents and the community as a dip-stick for the performance of a school, so if the new performance parameters–whatever they end up being–are condensed into a single score, then that’s what folks will use to base their evaluation of a school.

    Replies

    • el 2 years ago2 years ago

      The reason I think absenteeism is interesting is that it tells you something about whether the kids find going to school important. Now, butt-in-seat time is not so much what interests me about the number, and certainly some kids miss school for positive reasons like college visitations. But your example of Johnny hanging out at the liquor store tells me that he doesn't find school engaging and that his years of schooling plus whatever influence his … Read More

      The reason I think absenteeism is interesting is that it tells you something about whether the kids find going to school important.

      Now, butt-in-seat time is not so much what interests me about the number, and certainly some kids miss school for positive reasons like college visitations. But your example of Johnny hanging out at the liquor store tells me that he doesn’t find school engaging and that his years of schooling plus whatever influence his parents have don’t give him a positive reason to get to school. This is a data point that is as reflective of the school as his score on the no-stakes english test that he bubbled a pattern in on in 10 minutes. So he doesn’t find his teachers compelling and in turn he’s probably a corrosive influence.

      That’s not to say that a high absentee rate is necessarily a problem for my student. Maybe it’s because all the kids spend two weeks skiing in Europe every spring. Just as with low test scores, it’s a data point that generates questions, not answers. But to me a low absentee rate says something good is going on in the school. I may not know what exactly that is, but something.

      • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

        It says something for students and teachers. Some teacher absentee rates are high, and some students. If you want to ski do it during the 2 weeks off.

  2. Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

    "The API “helped accomplish some amazing things,” said Kenneth Young, Riverside County superintendent of schools, who serves as co-chair of the Public Schools Accountability Act Advisory Committee. The API helped schools target low-achieving students for intervention, he said, and also allowed parents to compare and evaluate schools based on test scores." Now that, I would suggest, is "something" of an exaggeration. I don't know of anything positive accomplished by the API. But, hey, I'm just a … Read More

    “The API “helped accomplish some amazing things,” said Kenneth Young, Riverside County superintendent of schools, who serves as co-chair of the Public Schools Accountability Act Advisory Committee. The API helped schools target low-achieving students for intervention, he said, and also allowed parents to compare and evaluate schools based on test scores.”

    Now that, I would suggest, is “something” of an exaggeration. I don’t know of anything positive accomplished by the API. But, hey, I’m just a former teachers. I don’t know what was going on down in Riverside prior to the API, but all teachers I am aware of certainly understood that low income and second language speakers were struggling. In fact, one of the goals of the CA Literature Project in the mid-’80s (that “codified” meaning based instruction, aka, “whole language”) was to develop professional development opportunities for teachers in strategies to bring high quality literature to that very population. This was torpedoed by the imposition of standards and test based “accountability” before it could really get off the ground.

    When my local paper published the yearly “box score” presentation of the schools API score, with EL (English Language Learner) and ED (Economically Disadvantaged) percentages, I used to spend a couple of hours developing what I called the RAPI (Ravani Affluent Parents Index). There were a couple of hundred school scores presented in the “box score” and I would take a “random” sample. That would be scores and ED/EL numbers. for about every 12th or 15th school skipping schools with” charter” in their titles. I would then develop two lists: 1) the schools in rank order by API; then, 2) the schools ranked by RAPI number. That number was a rough average of the ED/EL numbers. (I never claimed it was totally “scientific.”) The lists, as most of you can likely guess were “opposites,” with schools with high API’s at the top on list #1 and schools with high RAPI’s (and low APIs) high on the other. I would suggest the list were consistent 95% of the time. When there were anomalies the schools would typically be “off” by only a place or two. I published a “guest editorial” re the whole thing, but didn’t get a rise out of the editors. In those days I had a pretty regular gig on a local talk radio show and that would generate some controversy.

    So, did I skip charters because of a “bias” against charters? (This would be odd since I helped write a charter at one time.) No, I skipped charters because because a very few of them had at or near 100% ED/EL number, or much more frequently, t a number near 0%. They threw the RAPI numbers off. Interestingly, the 0% issue with charters has reared its head several times into community as someone “noticed” (after I had pointed it out numerous times) that the charter law requires schools to reflect the demographics pf their local communities. Charters with 1%-2%-0% EL/ED in communities where the EL/ED numbers tended to run 30%-40%-60% (and rising) EL/ED number did not quite meet those requirements. Nothing, by the way, is being done to deal with this obvious segregation issue. That’s not just around here, but in the entire state. Recently the UCLA Civil Rights Center has published on the same topic. Still nothing done.

    Replies

    • John Fensterwald 2 years ago2 years ago

      Gary, as you know, there were separate API scores within schools and districts for reach racial and ethnic subgroup, plus English Learners, special education students and low-income students, which highlighted disparities and pointed to schools that have made strides in eliminating them. Teacher awareness of the gaps in achievement was no substitute for providing stark data to the public. The problem is that parents and Realtors fixated on the school API, which masked the subgroup … Read More

      Gary, as you know, there were separate API scores within schools and districts for reach racial and ethnic subgroup, plus English Learners, special education students and low-income students, which highlighted disparities and pointed to schools that have made strides in eliminating them. Teacher awareness of the gaps in achievement was no substitute for providing stark data to the public. The problem is that parents and Realtors fixated on the school API, which masked the subgroup differences, so that API became, as others have called it, the Affluent Parent Index, paralleling family income and education background. But without subgroup API, the public had only a chart of state standardized test results by grade, with five categories of achievement (far below basic to advanced) to pore over and make sense of. The API provided a simpler way to get a picture. Give it credit for that.

      Of course, the worthiness of the API depended on the quality of the state tests — let’s hope Smarter Balanced is a marked improvement — and used only test results to imply that’s all that parents and the public should care about a school. The challenge before the State Board is to present a variety of measures without swamping the public with so many that all lose their meaning and sense of importance.

      • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

        John, you make good points. It did shine a light on important things we must fix if we are to have an equal society and also proved scientifically that public schools do as well as privates after adjusting for income, and if this book 'The Public School Advantage' gets more whites into public schools it will help black and Latino kids by way of racial integration, fostering PTAs at schools which don't have them, … Read More

        John, you make good points. It did shine a light on important things we must fix if we are to have an equal society and also proved scientifically that public schools do as well as privates after adjusting for income, and if this book ‘The Public School Advantage’ gets more whites into public schools it will help black and Latino kids by way of racial integration, fostering PTAs at schools which don’t have them, etc. It highlighted the achievement gap.

        However, people often complain that test scores correlate with income and we don’t have equal opportunity (a child born in the top quintile has a 39% chance of spending adulthood there vs. 6% for a child born in the bottom quintile). For most that is true. However, if we as a society want to change this and make America less of a caste system, we have to study and highlight the exceptions to this rule and how some people do well in school despite poverty.

        Mission Fremont, Cupertino, San Ramon and a number of other school districts and high schools routinely beat far richer and whiter areas such as Marin County, LaMOrinda, etc. Asian Americans overperform their income level by over two quintiles when poor. It isn’t only money, it’s how you use that money and it is character, focus, discipline, morals, etc. Divorce is less common and weekend studying more common. Summers are time to catch up on school or work on weaknesses or gaps and avoid summer learning loss.

        Lowell has 41% of kids on free or reduced lunch yet outperforms schools filled with the rich and costing over 40k which wouldn’t have even 10% on free or reduced lunch, maybe 5. Lowell is self-selecting, so the suburban examples are more accurate, but more parents should read ‘The Triple Package’, and if we really want to change and become a society where birth doesn’t determine success, we must all learn from these cultures. More goal-oriented and focused parenting and putting children as a higher priority will lead to more opportunity for poorer children.

        Poverty is related to divorce, as if you graduate high school, stay married and work full time the poverty rate is very low, though many are in the lower middle class. Many families care very little about education, even many rich ones whose kids do OK because they have advantages and hear a lot of words but who are outperformed routinely by Asian kids with far fewer economic advantages. It’s like Malcom Gladwell says, it all comes down to how much effort and time you put in.

        Reagan called it a Model Minority and was resented, but he was right. Can you doubt that any family that put the typical Asian focus on staying together and education 30 years ago would not have kids with better jobs and grades now? It is a model to follow if your complaints about opportunity represent a true desire to have a better life, rather than an empty complaint in a bar. Those who love their kids put their education #1 and focus on it. We don’t all love them the same. There is a wide variety. For instance parents who split because they aren’t getting along, many cultures wouldn’t even have a chance to not get along, they’d be focused on the kids, not their romantic life.

      • CarolineSF 2 years ago2 years ago

        Whoever named Smarter Balanced deserves painful punishment, though.

      • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

        John, typical busy parents were not aware of API breakdowns by subgroups, information that could only be accessed by searching the CDE API website. I was always surprised by that when I spoke with other parents. For parents it was more like a dip stick - the oil was either high or getting low. They viewed API as a barometer for school quality without breaking down the numbers for more insight. … Read More

        John, typical busy parents were not aware of API breakdowns by subgroups, information that could only be accessed by searching the CDE API website. I was always surprised by that when I spoke with other parents. For parents it was more like a dip stick – the oil was either high or getting low. They viewed API as a barometer for school quality without breaking down the numbers for more insight. The best example of how this thinking goes wrong is when a school with low SES students outperforms their subgroup. This demonstrate that something good is happening at that school. Conversely, some higher performing schools simply cruised with less than innovating and thoughtful leadership on the basis of a more affluence student body. I don’t care what the API is. I want schools that are working hard to make school a great experience for my children.

        • CarolineSF 2 years ago2 years ago

          Totally agree with Don here, and that’s based on 26 kid-years (two kids, 13 years each) as an extremely involved SFUSD parent and volunteer parent peer counselor. Parents just look at the overall API and have no notion whatsoever of the breakdown of subgroups — none. Only a tiny number even know such a concept exists.

          • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

            True, and it adds to segregation because parents will say I'm not racist, I just look at the API Score. Very few schools with large AA or L populations have high APIs due to historical racism. One thing it does prove is that kids who go to schools with bad reps do well if they study and have supportive homes. White and Asian kids at schools most whites look down on such … Read More

            True, and it adds to segregation because parents will say I’m not racist, I just look at the API Score. Very few schools with large AA or L populations have high APIs due to historical racism. One thing it does prove is that kids who go to schools with bad reps do well if they study and have supportive homes. White and Asian kids at schools most whites look down on such as James Lick, Visitacion Valley, Denman, Marina, Horace Mann…do as well as white and Asian kids at schools everyone fights over like Presidio, Hoover and Gianninni. Same with others, AA and L kids at Presidio, Hoover and Gianninni do no better than AA and L kids at the previous schools. Looking deep into the numbers is essential. We could integrate our schools much more while not damaging the education of anyone with money and power, the white ruling class. That’s what ‘The Public School Advantage’ proves beyond the shadow of a doubt. Martin Luther King’s dream could be lived simultaneously with advantaged white and Asian kids having bright, wealthy futures. Most rich whites in SF do not think so.

      • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

        John: In my experience the API and the rankings by comparison group were most useful…to the media (and the public school criticism industrial complex). It all made great fodder for op/eds. It was a rather expensive exercise in navel gazing and wish fulfillment for the folks who love spreadsheets and the sports style box score presentations in the paper. It made administrators antsy, some more than others, but for most teachers it was a sideshow that … Read More

        John:

        In my experience the API and the rankings by comparison group were most useful…to the media (and the public school criticism industrial complex). It all made great fodder for op/eds. It was a rather expensive exercise in navel gazing and wish fulfillment for the folks who love spreadsheets and the sports style box score presentations in the paper. It made administrators antsy, some more than others, but for most teachers it was a sideshow that sometimes distracted from the real task at hand: teaching kids in classrooms. The latter sometimes gets lost in the whole API/AYP pageant.

        You don’t think parents of ED/EL students, or folks at the other end of the spectrum, didn’t know how well their respective kids were doing in school before the API came along? Or was it really important for folks to know how other people’s kids were doing?

        For one thing, you don’t know if the schools high in the comparison band were actually improving learning and closing “gaps,” gaming the system somehow, or had just become test-prep factories. There is considerable evidence, NRC report and so on, that there was quite a bit of the latter: the old “narrowing of the curriculum.” So, it is not unrealistic to say that to what extent it all had any influence on the schools, it was likely negative. Which gets us to SBAC, CCSS, newly rejiggered “API,” etc., etc.

        • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

          API was mainly an offspring of STAR, but as Gary points out, it was a media circus unlike STAR. And I believe that was true because it boiled down all the myriad components of what makes a school - the blood, sweat and tears - to one number. It would be a mistake to do that again. API was designed to monitor how a school improved year over year and ended up morphing into … Read More

          API was mainly an offspring of STAR, but as Gary points out, it was a media circus unlike STAR. And I believe that was true because it boiled down all the myriad components of what makes a school – the blood, sweat and tears – to one number. It would be a mistake to do that again. API was designed to monitor how a school improved year over year and ended up morphing into a ranking system for comparison between schools.

          SFUSD’s choice/lottery assignment provided fertile ground for the misuse of API. The assignment process requires parents to either accept whatever they are given or make a list of preferences, (one of which you may or may not get anyway), based upon some understanding of the school choices. Due to the time and labor involved in developing a reasonable understanding of what various schools have to offer, a reliance on API developed as a matter of convenience and in some cases necessity because of the time constraints involved in extensive school searches and touring. If you live where you go to the assigned school and few opt to travel to a choice assignment, you don’t focus on the API, except perhaps as it was intended – to see the school direction.

          If they have to provide one number, a better API mousetrap would include factors that highlight divergences in outcome and SES. That benefit assumes one points great stock in how well test results measure academic outcome. But such information allows for some objectivity for comparison whereas grades from one school to the next are apples and oranges. A system that measures school climate in part as a function of student factors may contribute to grade inflation where better paper grades equate to greater student satisfaction whether or not that satisfaction is rooted in fact.

          • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

            Test-prep factories? You can only improve by a small amount by understanding the details of a test and you do become smarter learning that. You can't go up more than 3 percentiles or so. The tests test what all teachers should be teaching, all parents should be helping with and all kids should be learning: reading comprehension, grammar, math. It doesn't test specific knowledge like this year it's English History, and … Read More

            Test-prep factories? You can only improve by a small amount by understanding the details of a test and you do become smarter learning that. You can’t go up more than 3 percentiles or so. The tests test what all teachers should be teaching, all parents should be helping with and all kids should be learning: reading comprehension, grammar, math. It doesn’t test specific knowledge like this year it’s English History, and if your school studies American History you look bad. It tests what everyone agrees is valuable: grammar, vocabulary, reading comprehension, math. You can go up or down a tiny bit learning how to skip hard questions or understand what they’re asking, but any well-educated kid has already been taught this in class. The only reason you call schools test-prep factories at all is so many teachers don’t teach kids this, so many parents don’t help their kids learn this. Some can’t even get a parent to show up to a conference. There are no tricks. We all know what kids are supposed to learn. Some do it and some don’t. The union doesn’t want this published because it will prove not all teachers are equal. Anti-competitive socialists and hippy parents want to relax and feel good no matter how lazy they are as parents. But test prep has little to do with it. You can only very slightly improve on tests by prepping. It’s worth it to do, such as for Lowell, but the most it gained my kids is 3-4 percentiles, which counted for 2 points. You can’t have a kid at the 80th percentile and get them to the 98th or so by prep. Maybe 94-95 to 97-99, but you have to be close already to improve.

  3. Don 2 years ago2 years ago

    Ms. Maitre, states, "Such a system could include measures like absenteeism, suspension and expulsion rates, course-taking patterns, test scores, graduation rates and other factors to evaluate how well schools are serving students." If CA includes some of these other factors we should rename the API to remove the word "academic'. For example, (trying hard not to be sarcastic), showing up for school has its merits, but it isn't a measure of academic performance any … Read More

    Ms. Maitre, states, “Such a system could include measures like absenteeism, suspension and expulsion rates, course-taking patterns, test scores, graduation rates and other factors to evaluate how well schools are serving students.”

    If CA includes some of these other factors we should rename the API to remove the word “academic’.

    For example, (trying hard not to be sarcastic), showing up for school has its merits, but it isn’t a measure of academic performance any more than the kid sleeping in the back of the class is performing, though he’s present. Currently, wakefulness, let along cooperation, is not a factor for ADA purposes.Increasing attendance is, regardless of the quality of that attendance. Teachers are on the defensive to perform, perform, perform, yet when do we hear educrats or reformists place any emphasis on student performance, as if teachers can perform well when students don’t? Perhaps, in lieu of including grades in the measure (which is very problematic) we should develop some measure of student effort?

    How well schools serve students is not the same as how well students perform academically, either individually or as a population. The effect of such an API shift is to underweight student effort and to increase weight for school effort. A great school and even a great teacher or principal can do every last thing right for student success and the student can fail. The idea that students do fail can be linked to failure of the education system and the way we go about it, but it would be incorrect to assume that all students fail because we failed them. And the trend to push responsibility onto the government in lieu of the students is troubling. The CA Constitution guarantees equal opportunity, not equal outcome. We shouldn’t conflate the lack of equal outcome with a lack of equal opportunity. Where in all the reform efforts that are transforming the education landscape is any emphasis on student and family responsibility?

  4. FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

    Kumbaya, my lord, Kumbaya, oh lord, Kumbaya. Let's all feel good. Kids with bad test scores won't be poor. They'll probably be rich. Or if not, live deeper lives. All the math and science and reading comprehension scores don't matter. Those who do poorly on that are deeper anyways, true artists. They are superior at spatio-kinetic and artistic and emotional intelligence. And if you make 30k or 300k, if … Read More

    Kumbaya, my lord, Kumbaya, oh lord, Kumbaya.

    Let’s all feel good. Kids with bad test scores won’t be poor. They’ll probably be rich. Or if not, live deeper lives. All the math and science and reading comprehension scores don’t matter. Those who do poorly on that are deeper anyways, true artists. They are superior at spatio-kinetic and artistic and emotional intelligence. And if you make 30k or 300k, if you are a 1%er or on minimum wage, you are middle class. Let’s all just feel good about ourselves and our children for no particular reason. Yay!

    Replies

    • Paul Muench 2 years ago2 years ago

      I was wondering if this change will even make a difference. If multiple numbers are reported instead of one I can see that influencing parents views of schools to be more nuanced. If a single number is reported I'm wonderful if the distribution of school scores will even change. I'm just guessing so much about schools is correlated to family economic status. Will anyone explore how the distribution of a single … Read More

      I was wondering if this change will even make a difference. If multiple numbers are reported instead of one I can see that influencing parents views of schools to be more nuanced. If a single number is reported I’m wonderful if the distribution of school scores will even change. I’m just guessing so much about schools is correlated to family economic status. Will anyone explore how the distribution of a single number “score” would compare to the existing API?

      • navigio 2 years ago2 years ago

        Your concern that much will remain unchanged in the resulting distribution is valid since the whole point of accountability has been to identify apparent laggards in performance, and those characteristics are usually highly correlated with the things people would like to add to the API. In theory, one thing it would do is change the focus of district-level strategies away from testing and more toward those new elements. In the past, districts probably already did … Read More

        Your concern that much will remain unchanged in the resulting distribution is valid since the whole point of accountability has been to identify apparent laggards in performance, and those characteristics are usually highly correlated with the things people would like to add to the API. In theory, one thing it would do is change the focus of district-level strategies away from testing and more toward those new elements. In the past, districts probably already did do this to some extent, but there was also an over-arching incentive to manipulate test results in ways that run counter to educational priorities (counseling poor performers not to participate in tests, or to move or even to drop out of school, special program classification (eg the CMA hack), or even changing what courses are offered (eg no algebra for low-income middle schools), etc)..
        And also in theory, to the extent any of the new measures are actually causal wrt test results, the change could even have an implicit impact on test scores (students will do better if they show up for school, for example).

      • el 2 years ago2 years ago

        Highlighting attendance and graduation rate will I think highlight some schools that don't stand out now - if the kids come every day, there's got to be something good going on in this school keeping them engaged. I also think that the a-g completion rate is pretty important and pretty telling. A school can have a pretty decent API and yet a dismal a-g rate. An a-g rate of 100% probably tells you that this … Read More

        Highlighting attendance and graduation rate will I think highlight some schools that don’t stand out now – if the kids come every day, there’s got to be something good going on in this school keeping them engaged. I also think that the a-g completion rate is pretty important and pretty telling. A school can have a pretty decent API and yet a dismal a-g rate. An a-g rate of 100% probably tells you that this is a very academic community; a rate of less than a third almost certainly indicates a problem.

        All of these things would be useful in understanding if this is a good school for your own child, and where you’d want to be especially vigilant knowing her as an individual.

    • el 2 years ago2 years ago

      A principal remarked to me more than once that his friends who were mechanics and plumbers and electricians were the highest earners in his cohort, and made more than he did. There’s more paths to career success than Silicon Valley, which cannot absorb all our children even if we wanted it to.

  5. Paul Muench 2 years ago2 years ago

    Does multiple measures mean that multiple measures are reported or that multiple measures are mashed together in a single number?

    Replies

    • navigio 2 years ago2 years ago

      The previous API was depending almost entirely on one things: standardized test results. There was the similar schools ranking, which attempted to 'correct' for non-school influences, however, that was more about demographic characteristics than school behavior per se. Note, however, that those test results were still reported separately. The desire is now to make API be a function of much more than just test scores. And while its true that the public is unlikely to … Read More

      The previous API was depending almost entirely on one things: standardized test results. There was the similar schools ranking, which attempted to ‘correct’ for non-school influences, however, that was more about demographic characteristics than school behavior per se.
      Note, however, that those test results were still reported separately.
      The desire is now to make API be a function of much more than just test scores. And while its true that the public is unlikely to lose its desire for an overly simplistic measure (ie multiple measures mashed together), the measures used will also be separately available for scrutiny (actually, most probably already are, and some are already being targeted in LCAPs).

      • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

        Actually the API itself was weighted to lessen the influence lower band scores had on the total number. In SF the 10th graders took the ELA portion of CAHSEE yesterday and math is happening right now. Interesting to listen to the kids in the back of the car on the way to school this morning talking about just how pathetically easy it is. They claim they could have passed it in 7th … Read More

        Actually the API itself was weighted to lessen the influence lower band scores had on the total number.

        In SF the 10th graders took the ELA portion of CAHSEE yesterday and math is happening right now. Interesting to listen to the kids in the back of the car on the way to school this morning talking about just how pathetically easy it is. They claim they could have passed it in 7th grade. (CAHSEE is also part of API for HS).

        The other issue about test validity was something I encountered when reviewing SIG school STAR results. The USDE regulations requires 95% test participation, but many of these SIG schools, from the list of the 100 worst schools in CA, had participation rates in the low 80s as many students either are counseled out of the test as Navigio mentioned or they are on the roster but chronic no shows. I remember back when I was subbing after getting my credential and receiving school assignments in which no students showed up for certain classes. Zero. Compare that to the ride to school this morning- a tale of two cities. And that’s the reason why these kinds of aggregate scoring systems are of minimal use and distort the perspectives people glean from them.

        • el 2 years ago2 years ago

          That CAHSEE counts for the kids and that they have to pass it to graduate is also a factor. Anecdotally, many kids who have never scored 'Proficient' or above on the STAR exams have no trouble passing the CAHSEE on the first try. It is easier, yes; but also, the kids have skin in the game and they don't want to take that test a second time. Now, it's not wrong that the STAR tests were … Read More

          That CAHSEE counts for the kids and that they have to pass it to graduate is also a factor. Anecdotally, many kids who have never scored ‘Proficient’ or above on the STAR exams have no trouble passing the CAHSEE on the first try. It is easier, yes; but also, the kids have skin in the game and they don’t want to take that test a second time.

          Now, it’s not wrong that the STAR tests were more challenging or that the exit exam should be somewhat less difficult than our aspirations for our 10th and 11th graders. However, it goes to show how loaded the label “Proficient” is. If instead we simply referred to each level as 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, I think the perception of what it means that 100% of your kids aren’t at Level 4 would be quite different. It’s also interesting what a different picture you get of a school to hear reported that 30% scored ‘Proficient’ at a certain grade level versus that all but one student passed the CAHSEE on the first try.

    • John Fensterwald 2 years ago2 years ago

      State Board members, how seconded by the PSAA committee, have expressed the intent to eliminate a single number measuring school achievement, such as the API, and move toward a "dashboard" approach. Between now and Oct. 1, the State Board must decide what those measures – which can be compared across schools and districts – will be. They will take the form of "Evaluation Rubrics," which will consist of key indicators of academic achievement, school … Read More

      State Board members, how seconded by the PSAA committee, have expressed the intent to eliminate a single number measuring school achievement, such as the API, and move toward a “dashboard” approach. Between now and Oct. 1, the State Board must decide what those measures – which can be compared across schools and districts – will be. They will take the form of “Evaluation Rubrics,” which will consist of key indicators of academic achievement, school conditions, like absentee rates and suspension rates and other priorities. The law creating the Local Control Funding Formula was clear about what the Legislature envisioned, but left the specifics to the State Board. Many, if not all of these metrics, are already collected in the LCAPs that districts write and update annually. Creating the Evaluation Rubrics is challenging. WestEd is doing the legwork for the board. To get an idea of where it’s headed, check out this draft, which was released last month. It will be discussed by the State Board in March.

      • Paul Muench 2 years ago2 years ago

        Yeah!

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