California School Dashboard release marks a new starting point for improvement
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Dec. 15, 2022) – The 2022 California School Dashboard was released on Dec. 15 following a two-year pause prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw widespread school closures, federal assessment waivers and declines in student academic achievement and overall well-being.
Chronic absenteeism proved to be a particularly troubling indicator, with 30 percent of students marked as chronically absent in 2021–22 — more than double the rate of 14.3 percent in the 2020–21 school year. Students are considered chronically absent if they miss at least 10 percent of the instructional days in an academic year. As expected due to national and state assessment results, statewide English language arts and Mathematics indicators were at the “Low” level.
"School districts and county offices of education are deeply engaged in facilitating learning recovery, supporting student well-being, and addressing longstanding issues that predate COVID-19. The Dashboard offers an important tool to use in this work and for engaging the public on collaborative solutions that meet student needs and strengthen public schools," said CSBA President Susan Markarian. "The newly released data presents a snapshot from a year in which schools reopened for in-person instruction as children and families continued to struggle with social-emotional distress, health issues and transportation challenges. It's a sobering, if not unexpected, look at the lingering impact of the pandemic and underscores the need for continued investment in public education. Many of the issues facing schools are generational in nature and will extend beyond the timeline of emergency relief funding."
Understanding the Dashboard
The Dashboard — one element of the Local Control Funding Formula’s system of funding, accountability and support — allows school performance to be reported on a variety of measures rather than a single number. State measures include chronic absenteeism, graduation and suspension rates, English learner progress, and academic outcomes (including performance in English language arts/literacy and mathematics). The College/Career Indicator is not reported on the 2022 Dashboard.
Local measures reported by school districts and county offices of education include clean and safe buildings, school climate, parent engagement and access to a broad course of study.
In prior years, the Dashboard reported performance levels using two years of data — current year performance and the difference from the prior year to show growth or decline through the use of colors: blue, green, yellow, orange and red. Blue represents the highest performance level and red represents the lowest performance level.
Due to requirements under Assembly Bill 130, only the most current year of data, known as “status,” is displayed on the 2022 Dashboard. Therefore, California Department of Education staff has noted that compared to prior Dashboards, performance levels are not reported using colors. Instead, the 2022 Dashboard reports performance levels using one of five status levels (ranging from Very High, High, Medium, Low and Very Low) for all state measures based on the 2021–22 school year data.
Since there have been no new Dashboard updates since 2019, the CDE has stated that this Dashboard is a restart of the state’s accountability system, establishing a new beginning point for future comparison. Many of the results on the Dashboard reflect the disparities that have been demonstrated in earlier national test score releases as well as the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on historically marginalized students. The statewide results for each of the areas that the Dashboard evaluates are:
• Chronic Absenteeism – Very High
• Suspension Rate – Medium
• English Learner Progress – Medium
• Graduation Rate – Medium
• English Language Arts (ELA) – Low
• Mathematics – Low
The highest levels of chronic absenteeism occurred in students experiencing homelessness, Pacific Islander, African American and American Indian students. Eleven of 13 student groups were labeled as having Very High rates of chronic absenteeism, with only Asian and Filipino students designated as High.
About 87 percent of students graduated, with six student groups in the Low or Very Low categories and seven in the Medium or above. This rate was an improvement from 83.6 percent in 2020–21 and likely reflects accommodations designed to give a boost to students most impacted by COVID-19.
Results from the academic portion are based on student performance from either the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessment or the California Alternate Assessment. Statewide, students scored 12 points below standard in ELA and 52 points below in mathematics. Mathematics saw the greatest disparities between student groups. Scores for students in the Very Low designation ranged from 102 points below standard for students experiencing homelessness to 131 points below standard for students with disabilities. Scores in the High and Very High categories included Filipino students scoring three points above standard and Asian students scoring 48 points above.
The English Learner Progress Indicator (ELPI) showed that 50 percent of English learner students were making progress towards English language proficiency — 48 percent progressed at least one ELPI level while 18 percent decreased at least one level. This is an improvement from the 2018–19 school year, when 48.3 percent of English learner students were making progress.
The statewide suspension rate showed that 3 percent of the state’s nearly 6 million students were suspended for at least one day. That rate was Very High for foster youth and High for African American, American Indian, students experiencing homelessness and students with disabilities.
The CDE has published a Dashboard Communications Toolkit with informational materials to help local educational agencies better understand and further explain the data reported on the 2022 California School Dashboard to families and community partners. Included in the toolkit are:
• Flyers for parents (and those new to the Dashboard)
• Flyers for educators
• Webinar recordings and a notetaking guide
• Talking points
• Additional resources
CSBA is a nonprofit association representing nearly 1,000 PreK-12 school districts
and county offices of education throughout California.