California School Dashboard Announced as New Accountability Tool that Measures School Success

Just a few years ago, parents and community members who were interested in learning how their local schools matched up with others in California used a number calculated based upon student test scores. The Academic Performance Index (API) offered a snapshot of student performance at one time period during the year. State administrators now are shifting to a more holistic, accountability approach with the introduction of the California School Dashboard, a website featuring reports on multiple measures of school success including performance categories for absenteeism, test scores, graduation rates, English learner progress and suspension rates for various student groups.

Designed to give parents and communities access to important information about K-12 Districts and schools, the dashboard also will assist the state in identifying schools and districts that need targeted assistance. Initially, the dashboard evaluates five State indicators using five, color-coded performance categories. A blue pie with all five pieces represents the highest level of performance; descending levels are represented with green (four pieces), yellow (three pieces), orange (two pieces), and red (one piece). Performance levels are determined by a school/district’s placement in a five-by-five grid that shows the current year’s data along with the school/district’s change over time.

“The new dashboard is part of an accountability system based upon the Local Control Funding Formula and the Local Control Accountability Plan”, said South Pasadena Unified School District Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services, Christiane Gervais. “California continually raises the bar for student learning, and this revised method is intended to give districts, schools, parents and the community access to more detailed information about specific groups of students. Ideally, the dashboard will help us align our resources with the student outcomes.”

The dashboard launched for field testing on March 15, 2017 and was deliberately designed to be a work in progress. Additional metrics and reports will be added over time and will reflect feedback gathered during the testing phase. Possible future reports may include measures of school climate and how prepared students are for college and careers. To access the California School Dashboard, the fast start guide (a reference page), and a video tutorial, please visit

The state goal for all indicators is to reach the green performance level. SPUSD has already surpassed that goal in this field test year by achieving the highest level of achievement (blue) in four of the five categories and green in one category (suspension rates).

South Pasadena Unified schools will be providing teacher and parent workshops throughout the spring to introduce and review this new dashboard. A survey has also been created to give parents, students, teachers, staff, and community members an opportunity to provide input on the areas of strength and growth for the District and schools and to provide recommendations on how these areas of strength and growth should impact the LCAP actions and services. To access the survey, please follow this link:

About South Pasadena Unified School District

Established in 1886, the South Pasadena Unified School District (SPUSD) serves approximately 4,800 students within five schools including three elementary schools, one middle school and one comprehensive high school in South Pasadena, California. Nestled in the West San Gabriel Valley, SPUSD has earned a reputation for providing high quality public education, attracting families who value challenging academic programs and outstanding teachers. Consistently recognized for superior performance, SPUSD students earn honors at the local, state and national level. The District draws vital support from parents and community members through the South Pasadena Educational Foundation, local PTAs and booster clubs.

For more information, contact: South Pasadena Unified School District, Office of the Superintendent, or visit



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