By Kimberly Beltran SI&A Cabinet Report – News & Resources http://bit.ly/Xh3fz4
A prior version of this story referred imprecisely to the date that new computer-assisted testing has been proposed to begin. It would start in the spring, 2015.
Wednesday, February 13, 2013 :: Under pressure to quickly add new indicators for school success into the Academic Performance Index, a state advisory panel recommended Tuesday a point-scoring system that would reflect the number of students who’ve graduated.
The proposal, which requires approval by the California State Board of Education, would provide a base score for all graduates and award bonus points for disadvantaged graduates.
The Public Schools Accountability Act Advisory Committee also approved a framework that will govern future discussions for including new API indicators tied to preparing students for college and careers.
The committee’s work comes in response to legislation adopted last fall to implement the new accountability system for California high schools beginning in 2014-15.
SB 1458 by state Senate leader Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, requires that graduation rates and college and career readiness factors be included into the API.
Sympathetic to school concerns that the new factors may play havoc with their API status, the panel will return in April to evaluate the proposals in more detail. Regional hearings are also planned to be held between now and April to ensure broader participation.
Staff from the California Department of Education has been specifically tasked with performing analysis of how the proposed graduation rate indicator might impact school API for consideration by the panel in April.
CDE officials said they expect a fairly smooth transition.
“We have been calculating the cohort grad rate for three years now so districts are very familiar with this; they’re very comfortable with it and the data, of course, gets better and better, and that’s why we feel comfortable that adding the grad rate into the API is the way to go,” CDE’s Jenny Singh told the committee.
Another factor driving the action is a sweeping set of recommendations from state schools chief Tom Torlakson to restructure student testing in California based on the common core standards.
Torlakson has proposed the state suspend most testing in the coming year in preparation of an entirely new, computer-based assessment system that would begin in the spring of 2015.
As a result, the state is also pushing to have the new API indicators adopted by July to give schools one year to prepare for the new benchmarks.
But the committee only began its most recent work in November and had held just one meeting before Tuesday’s hearing. As a result, several members were hesitant to make a firm recommendation given the complexity of the issue.
The panel considered four options presented by the CDE staff and one from member and Stanford professor Ed Haertel.
Each option included some variation of a point system based on the number and type of student graduates, all with a varying degree of change to schools’ average 2011 base API score. One of the options included a student’s completion of the college prep A-G requirements but it was agreed that including this indicator within the grad rate structure “muddies” the process.
The committee recommended “for further study” a formula that would award API points as follows:
· 1,000 points for a four-year graduate receiving a diploma
· 1,050 points for a four-year graduate in one of three ‘disadvantaged student’ categories (English learner, poor or student with disability)
· 1,100 points for a four-year graduate in two of three disadvantaged categories
· 1,150 points for a four-year graduate in all three categories
· 800 points for a student earning his or her GED
· 200 points for a non-graduate
CDE staff will use these numbers to create a new API model, and come back to the advisory committee in April with the results.
Between now and then, Singh reported, staff will also conduct several regional meetings and an online survey to obtain feedback on the proposal.
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