Dewan: Public school accountability system restarts
Students at Merritt Trace Elementary School are pictured in this file photo.

    The COVID-19 pandemic affected education services and student learning worldwide. It also interrupted the statewide data collection, assessment and accountability systems for our public schools.

    Last week, the California Department of Education released the 2022 California School Dashboard. The dashboard is one part of California’s comprehensive accountability system for schools.

    The dashboard reflects data from the 2021–22 school year when the educational system was recovering from a variety of challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The data demonstrates the difficulties evident throughout the system in terms of attendance,  achievement and engagement.

    The 2022 dashboard is a restart of California’s accountability system and only current year performance is being reported. The colorful “gauges” of the dashboard will return in 2023. Instead of performance colors, new “cell phone bar” graphics will represent the five status levels for 2022: very low, low, medium, high and very high.

    The dashboard includes the following state measures this year: academic performance, chronic absenteeism, English learner progress, graduation rate and suspension rate for several student groups in each school district. These 12 student groups include foster youth, socioeconomically disadvantaged, homeless, English learners and students with disabilities, as well as racial and ethnic groups.

    The data in the dashboard sets new baselines designed to help parents and educators establish new goals and make decisions that will improve student learning and well-being. Santa Clara County outperformed the state averages.

    Suspension rates were lower than the state average and the graduation rate was higher. While the chronic absenteeism rate in Santa Clara County was lower than the statewide average, it is an ongoing area of focus. Countywide, 19% of students in Santa Clara County were chronically absent last year. That means they missed at least 10% of their school year. There are many factors that contributed to statewide increases in absenteeism, including high rates of COVID-19 and other illnesses.

    The 2022 dashboard provides important information to educators about how the pandemic affected student learning, student engagement and differences in outcomes for student groups. This data will be used alongside other local data on student performance and progress, such as local achievement reports, student work and teacher feedback. The combination of state and local data provides educators and the community with a more current and accurate picture of strengths, as well as areas of opportunity.

    San José Spotlight columnist Mary Ann Dewan is the superintendent of schools for Santa Clara County. She has more than 33 years of experience in the field of education. Her columns appear every third Monday of the month.

    Comment Policy (updated 11/1/2021): We reserve the right to delete comments or ban users who engage in personal attacks, hate speech, excess profanity or make verifiably false statements. Comments are moderated and approved by administrators.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published.