What California Charter Leaders Need to Know About Testing Participation Rates
By Annice Weinstein, Senior Manager, Assessment Data & Analysis
January 15, 2020
EdTec’s data specialists put together a tool that makes it easy for any school to check their 2019 participation rates. Click here to review your 2019 participation rates for ELA and math, schoolwide and for each student group.
In Spring 2020, the testing participation rate will matter more than ever for the Dashboard. Check out our recent blog post to learn why.
So, who counts towards the participation rate calculation?
The federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires all California schools (including charters and Dashboard Alternative School Status, or DASS, schools) to test at least 95 percent of all students and student groups in English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics, and to factor the participation rate into California’s accountability system, the CA School Dashboard. The calculation includes students tested on Smarter Balanced (SBAC) Summative Assessments as well as the CA Alternate Assessments (CAAs) in ELA and mathematics. Students must take both the computer adaptive test (CAT) and performance task (PT) sections to count as participating. The rates are calculated separately for each subject area. The CA Science Test (CAST) is not currently included on the Dashboard, but participation rate will be calculated for the CAST as well.
All schools that serve students in grades three through eight and eleven are responsible for meeting the 95 percent participation rate, both schoolwide and for all student groups with at least 11 students. Even though only groups with 30 or more students receive a color designation on the Dashboard, groups with at least 11 continuously enrolled students will have Status data reported on the Dashboard, and the participation rate will impact the Distance from Standard (DFS) for those groups.
How is the participation rate calculated?
Although the DFS for the Dashboard is calculated based on students continuously enrolled since census day, the participation rate is based on the number of students enrolled during the testing window. The participation rate penalty is applied after the initial DFS average is calculated.
The following students are removed from the participation rate:
- Medical emergency: Students absent from testing due to a significant medical emergency and flagged with a medical emergency condition code on the CAASPP file
- English learners new to the country (enrolled after April 15 of the prior school year) are exempt from the ELA portion only. They are still required to take the Math assessment.
Parent waivers DO NOT EXEMPT students from the participation rate.
Formula for Participation Rate*
Total number of students tested (SBAC and CAAs)
Total number of students enrolled during testing window
*The CDE uses whole number rounding (example: 94.1% rounds up to 95%)
The testing window begins when the first student at the school logs on to take either the CAT or PT of the SBAC in ELA or math or the CAA. The end of the testing window
Make sure to test any students who transfer in during the testing window, although you’re not responsible for testing students who transfer in during the last 14 days of the testing window. You’re also responsible for testing any students who transfer out during the testing window provided they don’t transfer out during the first 14 days of the testing window.
To monitor your testing progress in TOMS, have an LEA-level user generate the Test Completion Rate Report. You can export the report to Excel to total the “Total Student Completed” column across grade levels for each subject area. Separately, based on your enrollment in CALPADS, calculate the total students needed to test at your school in order to reach a 94.1% participation rate. Check that the total from the Test Completion Rate report is above your estimated total. Note: The “Total Student” column in the report includes students with medical exemptions but not students with parent waivers, so that total and the “Percent Completed” column can be misleading in relation to the participation rate.
Where can I check my school’s 2019 participation rates?
EdTec’s data specialists put together a tool that makes it easy for any school to check their 2019 participation rates. Click here to review your 2019 participation rates for ELA and math, schoolwide and for each student group. Take note of any student groups that had a participation rate below 95%. And begin communicating the importance of meeting the 95% participation rate with your students and families now to ensure a successful round of testing in Spring 2020!