state board

Systems of support, residual growth highlight May SBE meeting
In advance of the State Board of Education’s May 9 meeting, CSBA submitted a letter to the board in support of the California Department of Education’s request for a four-year waiver of the Every Student Succeeds Act requirement regarding English language proficiency.
California currently uses multiple measures to reclassify English learner students as proficient in English. The waiver would allow California to include recently reclassified English proficient students in measuring the progress of English learners. “CSBA supports this waiver as it will allow schools and districts to focus on continuous student improvement and will incentivize them to continue to exit students who demonstrate progress in this indicator,” the letter said.
CSBA Advocacy

The SBE meeting began with discussions centered on systems of support with input provided by the Shasta County Office of Education, the San Bernardino County Office of Education and the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence. The CCEE helps districts and schools meet their academic goals by acting as facilitators rather than simply telling districts or COEs what changes need to be made. As part of this discussion, SBE member Sue Burr referred to a letter from CSBA suggesting it would be beneficial for the State Board to hear from local governing boards about their experiences with systems of support. CSBA is facilitating two CCEE professional learning networks supporting county and school district leaders, one for small district board members and one for governance teams from medium and large school districts. The networks intend to build capacity and support deeper learning in using and understanding the California School Dashboard and the Local Control and Accountability Plan as tools for continuous improvement. Board member Burr said she is interested in learning more about how governing boards are leading and engaging in this work.

In comments about the California School Dashboard, CSBA, Education Trust–West, Children Now, the California STEM Network and the California Science Teachers Association, among other organizations, submitted a letter urging the State Board to create a placeholder entry for the California Science Test on the fall 2018 Dashboard. Although, the CAST is currently being field tested and no test results will be available for accountability for at least two years, adding a placeholder now will ensure that districts are planning and budgeting today for strong science, engineering and technology education for all students.

“We know that high-quality NGSS [Next Generation Science Standards]-based teaching and learning is essential for every student and has the highest potential for improving outcomes for underserved kids and narrowing the opportunity gap,” the letter stated. The letter goes on to cite that decisions being made now in budgets and priorities often hinge on accountability requirements. “A clear demarcation that the Dashboard will eventually include CAST results will focus LEAs on building the infrastructure for success in science, as well as other priorities, and foster their inclusion of funding and implementation planning for NGSS within their LCAPs and budgets.” CSBA will further examine this issue later this year in the fall edition of California Schools magazine.

California School Dashboard
The State Board is considering the inclusion of an academic growth component as part of the state accountability system for schools and LEAs. Earlier this year, the Educational Testing Service conducted an analysis of past test scores to compute, compare and contrast three approaches to a growth measure with data aggregated to school and LEA levels, and identified advantages and disadvantages of each approach. The “residual gain” approach was found to have the most desirable properties overall.

Residual gain is the difference between a student’s current test score and a prediction of that score based on the English language arts and math test results from the prior year, as well as the scores of all other students in the same grade. Residual gain is used to answer the question: How much better/worse did a student do this year than expected, given the student’s prior scores?

  • CSBA advocates for board member voice in systems of support and the addition of science test results to California School Dashboard
Equity groups supported exploration of the growth model. Board members recognized that the growth score can help districts understand school performance and can shine a light on the progress of student groups, but questioned whether the state needed to provide this data. Instead, they suggested the information could be generated at the local level. Board member Patricia Rucker also asked if the residual gain growth model would be used to evaluate employees. CDE responded with a definitive ‘no.’

Also at the meeting, SBE President Michael Kirst announced his retirement from the board at the end of Gov. Jerry Brown’s term. Kirst was the Governor’s chief education advisor for four decades and was appointed by Gov. Brown as president of the SBE for his four terms in office. Kirst said he would continue to participate in education policy and writing.