CA Dashboard Participation Rate

California Charters, SBAC Participation Rate Matters More Now Than Ever!

By Jennifer Reyes, Educational Support Services Manager

December 10, 2019

Starting with the 2020 CA School Dashboard, there will be a greater penalty to the Academic Indicators if a school’s participation rate falls below 95% on Math or ELA for the SBAC or CAA. The change will result in a greater decrease in Distance from Standard than the methodology used in the 2018 and 2019 Dashboards for schools that did not meet the participation rate threshold.  The Academic Indicators in the 2020 Dashboard will be calculated based on 19-20 CAASPP results.  That means schools have the opportunity NOW to plan for 95% or higher participation rates in Spring 2020 to avoid the new larger penalty.

Why the change?

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires states to test at least 95% of all students and student groups in ELA and mathematics.  California introduced a methodology for factoring participation rate into scores in 2018.  This methodology will be applied once more in the 2019 Dashboard release (with test results from 2018-19).  The federal Education Department reviewed the California Department of Education (CDE)’s methodology and determined that it does not meet ESSA requirements.

What is the current methodology?

For the 2018 and 2019 CA Dashboard data, CDE calculates the number of percentage points that the school, LEA, or student group falls short of the 95% participation target.  For each of these percentage points, they reduce the Distance from Standard (DFS) by 0.25 points.

What is the new methodology?

Instead of a 0.25 point penalty for each percentage point below 95%, the CDE will assign the Lowest Obtainable Score (LOSS) for each student needed to bring the school, district, or student group to a 95% participation rate.  Under the new methodology, the calculation will add the number of students needed to reach a 95% participation rate into the DFS calculations, and these students will be assigned a predetermined LOSS score.  The LOSS in Level 1 varies by subject and grade level.  The calculation will assign the LOSS among the school’s tested grade levels that penalizes the school the least.

Are there any exceptions to the participation rate requirement?

Students flagged with the “Medical Emergency” condition code will be automatically removed from the participation rate calculation unless they log onto both parts of the test.  English learners new to the country (enrolled in a U.S. school for less than one year) are exempt from taking the ELA portion of the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments.  It’s important to note that parent waivers do not exempt students form the participation rate calculations. Also note that the same LOSS will be applied to students who do not take the California Alternative Assessments as for those taking the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments.

What can I do to ensure 95% participation?

Awareness, advance planning, and strong systems can all be leveraged to ensure a strong participation rate.  Educate staff, parents, and students about the way in which your school performance is tracked and publicized on the CA School Dashboard.  When stakeholders mobilize around school goals, everyone is invested in having their school represented in the best possible light.  When planning the window and logistics of the testing, it’s important to solicit staff, parent, and student input to avoid unanticipated barriers to participation and optimize the testing schedule for everyone.  Be sure to include a cushion of time for make-up testing for absent students. Finally, set up systems for reminding everyone of their role in successful testing, and closely monitor participation rates while still within your window and respond accordingly until you hit or surpass 95%.

Is your school ready to hit 95% participation on SBAC/CAA Math and ELA? Let us know how you plan to prepare in the comments section below!

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