New online report evaluates California schools

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SAN DIEGO — Students, parents and educators will have a new way of finding out how their neighborhood school is performing beginning Wednesday, when the California Department of Education rolls out its new School Dashboard Report.

San Diego Unified School District officials say the new way of evaluating schools will be a big improvement over the previous method, in which only student test scores were used.

In the Dashboard’s first year, results will be provided in five state indicators, including academic achievement in English language arts; academic achievement in mathematics; English learner progress; graduation rate; and suspension rate, according to district officials.

It replaces the Academic Performance Index, or API, which relied on test scores to produce a single score that offered a limited view of school performance.

For each state indicator, districts, schools, and student groups will receive a color-coded performance level.

The performance of state indicators will be color-coded based on the status or latest results and ranked as “very high,” “high,” “medium,” “low,” or “very low.”

The growth or change, which is the status compared to the previous year or years will be labeled as “declined significantly,” “declined,” “maintained,” “increased” and “increased significantly” in each area.

Each circle will have a different number of segments that corresponds to a specific color. The five performance levels will be blue (highest), green, yellow, orange and red (lowest).

The first year of the accountability system will be a field test, intended as an early model that will be fully implemented after feedback and adjustments. It was scheduled to go live at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.