AB 484: Guidance for Schools

  • Print

October 2, 2013 On October 2, 2013, the Governor signed AB 484, which temporarily suspends most standardized testing. Though CCSA is supportive of transitioning to Common Core standards, as a state we are entering a period where transparency for the public, accountability for continuous improvement, and critically needed data to inform instruction are all at risk. This is a critical moment for California charter schools to come together as a movement and find ways to maintain these crucial components during the transition to Common Core.

Under AB484, the state will pay for administration of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) field test in ELA or math, but not both. Schools will not receive scores back from the field test because it primarily serves "as a test of the test." In fall 2014, the California Department of Education (CDE) will still issue an API score for schools but it will be either last year's score or a three-year average of API scores, whichever is higher.

It is important for schools to know that while the state has suspended API reporting, Education Code still requires charter schools to demonstrate academic growth school-wide and in subgroups as a primary factor for renewal.

Schools shouldn't fly blind

Operating without assessment data this year is akin to flying an airplane in poor visibility conditions without critical cockpit instruments. The first time the clouds will part is in spring of 2015 with the full SBAC test. Schools shouldn't wait for that moment to realize that they are a foot off the ground or headed in the wrong direction. In 2013-14, schools need "cockpit instruments" (Common Core-aligned interim assessments) to track progress at the student level, at the school level and for the charter school movement.

  1. At the student level: Are students successfully making the transition to Common Core? What mid-course corrections to instruction are needed?
  2. At the school level: How will schools maintain transparency and accountability with parents and the public? How will schools demonstrate academic success school-wide and with subgroups at time of renewal?
  3. At the movement level: CCSA needs to be able to paint a portrait of the movement to be able to successfully advocate for charter schools and push for continued equitable access to facilities, funding and to protect against efforts to re-regulate charters or take away charter autonomy.

What assessments does CCSA recommend?

CCSA is researching options for schools on Common Core-aligned formative and summative tests. These should be standardized, nationally normed, and comparable across schools (e.g. not just item banks). CCSA has identified three options and continues to research others and will continue to update this section of the website as more information becomes available.

Currently, CCSA is working to finalize a volume discount for California charter schools on the Northwest Evaluation Association's Common Core-aligned MAP assessments. With these robust, computer adaptive assessments, schools will have information on student achievement and growth to inform instruction and to share with families. We will be encouraging schools to share aggregated school-level results with CCSA as well so we can continue to effectively advocate on charter schools' behalf throughout the transition to Common Core.

CCSA has also identified the ACT's "Explore, Plan, ACT" sequence (paper/pencil, grades 8-12); and Key Data Systems (administered through Illuminate, OARS, or EADMS, paper/pencil or computer-based).

We will continue to keep schools updated via this blog and our Weekly Member Digest. You can always find the latest on our Accountability page and don't forget that you can send questions on this and other topics to CCSA's Help Desk.

We also recommend that you check out the resources on the CDE's Common Core web page and check regularly for updates.

What is Smarter Balanced? What will Assessment Look Like?

Thursday, October 10, 2013, 3:30 p.m.-4:45 p.m.

Deborah Sigman, Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction in the District, School, & Innovation Branch of the California Department of Education (CDE), will present the second webinar in the Secondary Literacy Partnership's series, "Transitioning to the Common Core State Standards: Spotlight on Instruction, Assessment, and Equity." This webinar, "What is Smarter Balanced? What will Assessment Look Like?," will provide information about the Smarter Balanced assessments, including double testing flexibility, practice tests, sample English language arts items, the Digital Library, and assessment for literacy in history/social studies, science, and technical subjects, as well as other program and technology updates. To sign up for this live webinar event, please visit the SchoolsMovingUp Web page.