California School Dashboard

California is launching a field test of the California School Dashboard, an online tool designed to help communities across the state access important information about K-12 districts and schools. The Dashboard is the next step in a series of major shifts in public education, changes that have raised the bar for student learning, transformed testing and put the focus on equity.

Multiple Measures

California is leading the nation in developing a system for evaluating schools and districts that includes multiple measures of student success. The new California School Dashboard is an easy-to-use online tool to access this wealth of information, giving parents, teachers and community members a fuller picture of a school’s progress. Instead of relying exclusively on test scores as the previous accountability system did, this new system gives a snapshot of a manageable set of indicators, including high school graduation rates, career and college readiness, English learner progress and suspension rates, while still looking at test scores.

Focus on Equity

California's future success depends on preparing every student at every school to meet the challenges of tomorrow. The additional information in the California School Dashboard can help improve equity among student groups by revealing where disparities exist. Having access to relevant information helps schools and districts understand where students are struggling and ensures staff can respond with resources. Under the previous system, data about student groups was too focused on test scores. The new system provides student group information on a variety of helpful indicators and puts it in one location.

Supporting Local Decision-Making

The Dashboard supports California's groundbreaking Local Control Funding Formula, which gives districts and schools more flexibility in using state resources. Districts and schools have access to the information they need to make the best local decisions about the education of children. New information will help principals, teachers, parents and community members pinpoint specific areas where schools are under-performing and need help. It will also help identify schools that are excelling and can help others by sharing their methods and practices

Five things you need to know about the California School Dashboard

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

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

The California School Dashboard uses color-coded pie pieces and other gauges to present a comprehensive set of metrics. 

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

Each year, the California School Dashboard will display 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 Local Control Funding Formula . The same priority areas are also embedded in the Local Control 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)
Results will be based on how schools or subgroups performed overall (also 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 (county offices of education only)
Schools, districts and county offices will 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 will 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,  the general concept 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:
The imaginary school above would have  favorable suspension and graduation rates but produced low English scores and very low math scores. 

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

4. The California School Dashboard will also serve 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 will be 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

on the California Accountability Model and School Dashboard Webpage.